Late counting: Legislative Council

A post for ongoing coverage and discussion of late counting for the Legislative Council.

Tuesday, December 15

UPDATE: My paywalled review of the result features in today’s Crikey.

Final result: Labor 14 (down two), Liberal 14 (down four) and Nationals two (down one), the Greens five (up two), and Shooters & Fishers two, DLP one, Sex Party one and Vote 1 Local Jobs one (all previously unrepresented). The tight results favoured Labor over the Country Alliance in Northern Victoria and the Greens over the Sex Party in the South Eastern Metropolitan. The former came down to Labor squeaking ahead of the Greens at the second last exclusion – had it been the other way round, Labor preferences would have decided the seat in the Country Alliance’s favour rather than the Greens’. The latter was contingent upon below-the-line votes, since the ABC projection based on above-the-line preferences had the Sex Party winning a second seat at the Greens’ expense. But clearly the Sex Party suffered from leakage when it received the preferences of Animal Justice and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party. For further detail, we must await the publication of the full preference distributions.

Monday, December 15

The Victorian Electoral Commission will be pushing the button on the results for each region starting from 9:30am tomorrow, a process that should take about 90 minutes in its totality, with results to be officially declared later in the afternoon.

Thursday, December 11

With the lower house done and dusted, the Victorian election still has further entertainment to offer with the conclusion of the upper house count. So I’ve changed the time stamp on this post and provided an updated review of the situation. The count does not look like it will be finalised until late next week, owing to the higher number of below-the-line votes (8% of the total, double that of 2010) and the consequent greater load of data entry work before the computerised count can be conducted.

The best way to get a handle on a complex situation is to consider the many contenders as Left, which I take to encompass Labor, the Greens, the Sex Party, Animal Justice and Voice for the West, and the Right, meaning Liberal, Nationals, Shooters & Fishers, Country Alliance, Democratic Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Vote 1 Local Jobs and Palmer United. Labor plus the Greens land well short of a majority, but the Left will clearly win 19 seats, and the best case scenario for the Andrews government is that they are supplemented by a further three. However, the odds appear against them in two cases, and finely balanced in a third.

The table below shows the state of play, including three categories of “in doubt” seat: those which will definitely go to a party of one ideological side or the other, but where it isn’t clear which one, and the particularly important contests that could go either Left or Right.

Now a summary of the eight regions in order of interest, for which the number of votes in the count has increased by around 60% since my previous overview after election night. Our tools for analysis are the Geeklections simulations and the projected ABC results.

Northern Victoria

IN DOUBT: It is certain that either Shooters & Fishers or Country Alliance will win a Right seat, and there is a strong chance both of them will. If not, the second of the two seats will go to the Left: Labor, the Sex Party or the Greens.

This is diabolically complicated, but the result can be understood as being on the cusp of four Right, one Left and three Right, two Left. In the former case, wins for the Country Alliance and Shooters & Fishers supplement two seats for the Coalition (one Liberal, one Nationals) and one for Labor. Otherwise, the most likely scenario involves the Greens falling behind Labor and dropping out at Count 15, so that their preferences flow to Labor rather than Labor preferences flowing to the Country Alliance, who get them ahead of the Greens.

The odds on this have shortened as the count has progressed, with the Greens’ projected lead at the relevant point shrinking from 0.78% on election night to 0.32% (10.06% to 9.74%). When the preference distribution is properly conducted, it is not clear to me if below-the-line preferences will be a net positive or a net negative for the Greens: their projected vote total includes the 1.78% Animal Justice vote and 0.60% of residue from Palmer United, the Sex Party and Australian Cyclists, some of which will leak.

Other scenarios canvassed at Geeklections involve the Shooters & Fishers dropping out at one of the earlier stages of the count, in which case their seat could go to the Sex Party or the Greens depending on the stage at which it happens. Geeklections also rates as marginal chances other permutations of three Right, two Left, involving various combinations of the aforesaid parties.

Southern Metropolitan

IN DOUBT: A seat might go Right, to the Liberals, or Left, to the Sex Party.

The most likely scenarios here remain three Liberal, one Labor and one Greens, or two Liberal and one each for Labor, the Greens and the Sex Party. For the latter to happen, the Sex Party will need to get ahead of the Liberal Democrats at Count 17. The chances of this have been weakened as the count has progressed, with a Liberal Democrats lead of 6.92% to 6.62% on election night widening to 7.47% to 6.69%. Furthermore, a much higher share of the Sex Party total is in the form of preferences, so they stand to suffer more from below-the-line leakage. Marginally possible scenarios contemplated by Geeklections are the Liberal Democrats winning the seat instead of the Sex Party, and the Sex Party instead taking a seat at the expense of the Greens.

Western Metropolitan

IN DOUBT: A seat might go to the Right, most likely the DLP or theoretically possibly the Liberal Democrats, or to the Left, namely Voice for the West, although the latter seems unlikely.

The ABC projection is Labor, Liberal, Labor, Greens, DLP, which I rated a certainly after election night. However, counting since election night has seen the DLP vote drop from 2.76% to 2.56% and the Liberal Democrats go from 4.55% to 5.52%, and Geeklections is allowing for the possibility of the Liberal Democrats winning the seat if they stay ahead of the Liberals at Count 16, or Voice for the West doing so if they get ahead of the Sex Party at Count 13. Both look rather unlikely to me: in the former scenario, the Liberal vote is almost entirely their own, and thus not susceptible to leakage, and the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to be a magnet for below-the-line preferences; in the latter, a bigger share of Voice for the West’s vote comes from preferences in comparison with the Sex Party, and the higher profile of the latter suggests it is more likely to attract below-the-line preferences.

Western Victoria

IN DOUBT: A Right seat will go to Vote 1 Local Jobs, Shooters & Fishers or Palmer United.

It is clear that the first four seats have gone Liberal, Labor, Liberal, Labor, but the last is a lottery which Geeklections rates in order of likelihood as Shooters & Fishers, Vote 1 Local Jobs, Palmer United, DLP and the Greens, with the latter two particularly long shots. The ABC projection presently has it with Vote 1 Local Jobs, who supplanted Shooters & Fishers on the first day after the election. Shooters & Fishers have been harmed by a 0.36% boost for the Liberal Democrats as counting has progressed, putting them some distance behind (2.59% to 2.27%) at their point of exclusion at Count 14. The Palmer United scenario is contingent on the Coalition doing more strongly than the projection suggests, so that Vote 1 Local Jobs is excluded ahead of them at Count 16 or Count 17.

South-Eastern Metropolitan

IN DOUBT: A Left seat will go to the Sex Party, the Greens or Animal Justice.

Two Labor and two Liberal seats stand to be augmented by a third seat for the Left, which Geeklections rates in order of likelihood as Greens, Sex Party, Animal Justice and Labor. The Sex Party has emerged as a show through the course of counting due to an almost 1% drop in Labor’s total, putting them in danger of exclusion at a point where previously they were staying ahead of the Sex Party. A Sex Party victory is indeed what the ABC is presently projecting, although Geeklections rates the Greens an equal likelihood. The seat would instead go to Animal Justice if they stayed in the hunt in Count 11 and Count 12 by getting ahead of Palmer United, which they presently trail 1.98% to 1.86%, with neither total including any preferences. At this stage though that would appear unlikely. Even less likely is a third seat going to Labor, although Geeklections has it at the margins.

Eastern Metropolitan

The result here has always looked like Liberal, Labor, Liberal, Liberal, Greens. Geeklections has been rating a sizeable possibility of the last seat instead going to Labor, but I’m struggling to see how. The ABC projection has them leading 17.12% to 12.01%, and while 6.64% of that Greens total comes from preferences and is thus subject to leakage, that shouldn’t make more than about 0.5% of difference.

Eastern Victoria

Liberal, Labor, Nationals, Shooters, Labor.

Northern Metropolitan

Labor, Liberal, Greens, Labor, Sex Party.

Sunday overnight

Simulations by Geeklections suggest that a) the Greens seat in Eastern Metropolitan is no foregone conclusion after all, and that Labor might yet win a second seat there, b) the seat in Northern Metropolitan which I have as either the Sex Party or Family First is all but certain to go to the former, c) there is an outside chance that the Shooters & Fishers seat in Northern Victoria will instead go to the Greens or the Sex Party, d) the three Labor, two Liberal possibility in South East Metropolitan is a slight one, and there’s a slightly higher chance of the Greens seat going to Animal Justice rather than third Labor; and e) there’s a slight chance of the micro-party winner in Western Victoria being Palmer United, but Vote 1 Local Jobs is more likely and Shooters & Fishers rather more likely still.

Sunday 3pm

A revised review of the situation, with more care taken to consider alternative scenarios. I see five seats out of 40 in doubt, the remainder going Coalition 15, Labor 13, Greens four, Shooters & Fishers two and DLP one. Shooters & Fishers might get to three, or the third seat could go to Vote 1 Local Jobs instead. The Sex Party might get two, or the two seats in question could instead go Liberal and Family First. Country Alliance might win a seat, or it could go to Labor instead. And there’s a race between the Greens and Labor for the last seat in South Eastern Metropolitan.

First the regions with doubtful seats:

Western Victoria. Since last night, and as intimated might happen below, the ABC has switched its prediction for the last seat from Shooters & Fishers to Vote 1 Local Jobs. That makes two Liberal, two Labor and Vote 1 Local Jobs, with the last seat to be determined by Count 14 and whether Shooters & Fishers (currently 2.27%) can get ahead of the Liberal Democrats (currently 2.28%).

Northern Metropolitan. The current read here is two Labor and one each for Liberal, Greens and Sex Party. But the Sex Party win is contingent on them staying ahead of Labor at Count 22, which is currently 10.62% to 8.73%. Otherwise, the unlocking of the Sex Party bundle causes Family First to win owing to some unlikely types directing them preferences ahead of Labor: the Basics Rock’n’Roll Party, Animal Justice and Australian Cyclists, together with Shooters and Fishers and the Liberal Democrats.

Northern Victoria. Currently a very striking result with two micro-parties elected: two Coalition (one Liberal, one Nationals), and one each for Labor, Shooters & Fishers and Country Alliance. This is because Labor’s surplus of over half a quota is set to flow to Country Alliance ahead of the Greens. However, this will change if the Greens fall behind Labor at the last exclusion, Count 15, at which the Greens are on 10.27% and Labor is on 9.50%. If so, the Greens will be excluded and their preferences will decisively flow to Labor over the Country Alliance, making the result two Labor, two Coalition, one Shooters & Fishers.

South Eastern Metropolitan. Currently a straightforward result of two Labor, two Liberal, one Greens. But if the third Labor candidate gets ahead of Rise Up Australia at the last exclusion, Count 17, where it’s currently Rise Up 10.79% and Labor 9.08%, Labor wins the last seat instead of the Greens, for a result of Labor three, Liberal two.

Southern Metropolitan. Currently a status quo result of three Liberal, one Labor and one Greens – but the third Liberal might yet lose to the Sex Party if the latter stays afloat at Count 17, where the Liberal Democrats currently lead them by 6.96% to 6.64%. The Sex Party would then absorb the big Labor surplus, which otherwise stands to go untouched because the present projection has the second Labor candidate staying in the race until the final count, at which point he loses to the Liberals.

Now the straightforward ones:

Eastern Metropolitan. Liberal 3, Labor 1, Greens 1.

Western Metropolitan. Labor 2, Liberal 1, Greens 1, DLP 1.

Eastern Victoria. Coalition 2 (Liberal 1, Nationals 1), Labor 2, Shooters & Fishers 1.

Close of Saturday night

Another freakish upper house result, with the present ABC projection being Liberal 14 and Nationals 2; Labor 13; Greens five, winning seats in each of the metropolitan region, including gains in South Eastern Metropolitan and Eastern Metropolitan; three for Shooters and Fishers; and one each for Family First, Country Alliance and the Democratic Labor Party. As I shall shortly explain, there are a few results I don’t think are locked down:

Eastern Metropolitan. Nearly half counted, and it’s looking like the Greens have gained a seat from Labor: enter Samantha Dunn, exit Brian Tee.

Eastern Victoria. As was widely anticipated, it appears Shooters and Fishers have gained a seat at the expense of the Coalition. Result: two Coalition (one Liberal and one Nationals), two Labor, one Shooters and Fishers (Jeff Bourman).

Northern Metropolitan. Only a third counted, but Family First projected to take a seat from the Liberals, and I don’t see any narrow cut-off points that might thwart them (UPDATE: I spoke too soon: in an interesting reversal, the seat is now projected to go to the figurehead of the Sex Party, Fiona Patten).

Northern Victoria. Two micro-party winners projected here: Country Alliance, which I figured, and Shooters and Fishers, which I didn’t. But what happens if the Greens drop behind Labor at Count 14?

South Eastern Metropolitan. Looks like the Greens have poached a seat from Labor for a result of 2-2-1. Although there are some close cut-off points there, for which I’ll shortly get to experimenting with alternative outcomes.

South Metropolitan. Status quo result of 2-2-1.

Western Metropolitan. The DLP are back, taking a seat off the Liberals.

Western Victoria. Two Liberal and two Labor, but the third Coalition seat (the Nationals) seemingly to be dropped to Shooters and Fishers (Nicole Bourman, presumably related to Jeff). But there are a lot of close cut-offs late in the count which warrant a closer look. (UPDATE: Areaman notes in comments that the Shooters and Fishers win is contingent upon them keeping their head above water at a point in the count where they are nearly level with the Liberal Democrats. If they fail to do so, the seat looks likely to go to James Purcell of Vote 1 Local Jobs, whose chances were being spruiked by a number of close observers based on his tight preference arrangements.)

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.

213 comments on “Late counting: Legislative Council”

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  1. Sorry to labour the point, but what the f***k was The Age doing in endorsing the LNP in its main editorial. Have they totally forgot their core readership vociferously voted otherwise for either the ALP or green.

    Go figure.

  2. If the ALP plus Greens do not get a majority, particularly if ALP plus micro party also do not get a majority, and the ALP polls well then an early election, on the grounds of blocked legislation could be a possibility.

  3. 5th Northern Metropolitan currently showing as SEX party.

    Good grief, it’s between the polar opposites of FFP and SEX.

  4. Tom the First and best post 5
    _Re Upper Hpuse ______________
    Under the new constitution Bracks designed …the Government can only hold an early election if it has lost control of the Lower House(rememeber Shaw et al)

    The Upper House has no power to reject money bills of any kind,so it’s members can reject or amend bills but connot force an election…this Pariament will run it’s full term ….because anything else is not possible under the Bracks constitution…regardless of the Upper House there is no Double Dissolution provision in the Vic Constitution

  5. this Pariament will run it’s full term ….because anything else is not possible under the Bracks constitution

    That’s simply false. The Parliament of Victoria website says that

    The only time that there is less than four years between general elections is when the Assembly is dissolved earlier by the Governor. The Governor may dissolve the Assembly:

    * On the advice of the Premier in the case of a deadlocked bill.

    When a general election is called all electoral districts of the Assembly and regions of the Council throughout Victoria are involved. Elections for each district and region take place on the same day; election day.

  6. Make no mistake Prahran scrutineers were pretty amazed when the TPP was between Liberal and ALP when Greens came second in all booths

  7. b 17 – yes I am not that concerned with this. Le’s face it – if all the minors cause major preblems, Liberal and Labor will get together quietly before the next election and change the rules (as I expect will happen federally also)

    Our government created this system, these people will be elected under it – still beats many places in the world where you can’t even really vote!

  8. I suspect late counting will flip a few of these.

    In NV, ALP + GRN + SEX = 2.24 quotas. If they use that 1.24 quotas to dump 0.61 into the wasted quota and the rest to get CA up then they need to be made to write “Antony Green told me not to do this” 1000 times on the wall and then get shot. More prosaically, ALP could gain 0.1 of a quota in late counting and get elected.

    I’m pleased to see GRNs predicted for 5th in E and SE metro but am not betting the house yet.

    That gives ALP + GRN + SEX = 20. W Metro 5 is swing.

  9. Martin B – it does my head in going through this stuff. Even when Antony has made his amazing model. Will be interesting to see if a few of the minors get knocked out though.

    Currently EM, SM, SEM have only LNP/ALP/GRN

    The other 5 have 6 minors – NV with two! the “count” thread is pretty extraordinary. maybe count 15 ALP/Grn could change order.

  10. I see. DLP will not go out early in W Metro, and then they will snowball past ALP, left holding the bag.

    My main failed prediction: the left do not gain a seat in W Metro.

    ALP + GRN + SEX = 20*

    LNP + S&F = 19

    DLP = 1

    * Assuming ALP flip 5th in N V

  11. Another interesting point is count 15 in WV, if the Lib Dems get above the shooters then the greens get the sex and palmer preferences.

  12. I hope those people who were supporting the Labor decision to preference the DLP/Country Alliance/etc. so that they have alternative paths to legislate are pleased that they are now quite likely to require the Greens and the Shooters to agree to pass anything without the Coalition.

  13. @26

    Excellent! That will be surely too close to call. WV in play.

    Let no ballot paper be unturned, or upturned into a recycling bin.


    [The new Shooters Party MPs will be led by husband and wife team Jeff and Nicole Bourman, who live in Hampton but won seats in Eastern Victoria and Western Victoria respectively. Mr Bourman is a former policeman. ]

    I know The Age is relying on unfinished counting here, but this definitely sounds ridiculous if it did turn out this way.

  15. 27: I think this could be a hilariously entertaining lesson for the Labor Party from those of us who don’t have to live with the consequences of their inability to legislate.

  16. Deblonay, except for the part in the Constitution that talks about deadlocked bills, namely s 65E(2):

    [The Premier may advise the Governor in writing that the Assembly be dissolved as a result of this section applying to the Deadlocked Bill specified in the advice.]

    I’d imagine the possibility of that ever occurring would be pretty slim outside of the normal window in which you’d expect an election to occur.

    In addition the LC’s power to block appropriations still remains for the Appropriation bills not appropriating money for the ordinary annual services of government. Again, not likely to ever happen.

  17. Note that Dr Rachel Carling-Jennings is the former staffer accused by former DLP Senator John Madigan of being less than loyal. Some evidence exists suggesting she had made earlier advances to the Liberal Party for preselection.

  18. Another assumption made here is that the Nats and the Libs will still be a coalition in Opposition. Doesn’t usually happen.

  19. As all preferences at each step are going to a single party, I assume these results aren’t allowing for below the line ballots yet? These may cause a few unexpected shifts when counted.

  20. But they also ‘normally’ have separate tickets. It would be slightly odd if they sat as non-aligned parties having stood on a joint ticket.

  21. Also, for those interested in Green/Labor (lack of) deals in the LC, here’s the keys:

    Eastern Vic – irrelevant. Lib/Nat preferences elect the S&F, neither Green nor Labor preferences distributed.

    Northern Vic – relevant. Lib/Nat preferences elect the S&F, but Labor preferences to the Country Alliance prevent a Green taking the 5th seat.

    West Metro – irrelevant, Green preference are not material in determining the 5th quota (and go to Labor anyway)

    West Vic – irrelevant. The tiny Labor surplus after their second candidate is elected wouldn’t have changed the result for the 5th quota, regardless of whether Purcell or the S&F get up.

    One extra seat for the Greens wouldn’t give them the BoP anyway, so for all the handwringing over Labor meanness, it looks like a load of bunk anyway.

  22. Western Vic updated, Vote1 Local Jobs in 5th spot now, shooters out, Liberal democrats 38 votes ahead at the right time. Long way to go in the count though

  23. Looking at the numbers on the North Vic seat, you’d see the approximate primary votes going to:

    2.5 Libs / Nats
    1.5 Labor
    0.5 Greens
    and the rest going to a mixture of right and left micro-parties.

    It’s odd to see only 1 going to the left (assuming the Labor candidate is left-ish) and 4 going to the right.

  24. I’m still struggling to work out what was wrong with the old system for electing the upper house. At the very least we could get rid of the system where a single one in the box is allowed to be used.

  25. CF @42

    [I’m still struggling to work out what was wrong with the old system for electing the upper house. At the very least we could get rid of the system where a single one in the box is allowed to be used.]

    I know right? With voters only required to put 1 to 5 (or more) in the BTL, why even have “just vote 1” ATL?

  26. [I’m still struggling to work out what was wrong with the old system for electing the upper house.]

    If you’re referring to the old Senate system, the problem was voters being required to number upwards of 70 boxes, in most cases by copying out a how-to-vote card, resulting in 10%+ informal rates. If you’re referring to the old state upper house system, it was a chamber dominated by the major parties, resulting in either partisan obstruction or a compliant rubber stamp.

  27. Labor has won the election without having to depend on the Greens in the Legislative Council, as it wished, though it won’t be simple to corral a majority from the collection of micro-party MLCs we have ended up with. Those of us with long memories can recall the days in this state when Labor and the Country Party swapped preferences, so I would not assume that the Nationals would always vote with the Liberals. Indeed, were I a National, I’d want be differentiating myself from the Liberals in order to fight the Country Alliance and the Shooters and Fishers.

    The numbers are not ideal, but they are certainly better than being in government and being beholden to one party for legislative success.

    The predictable complaints about the results have started. The sheer effrontery of a few more outsiders getting to be insiders and depriving the Greens of their moral entitlement to the balance of power will not be forgiven. However, what the complainants seem to ignore is that the micro-party candidates got there because large numbers of people deliberately voted for them. If you look at the figures, you will see that the micro-parties polled more than double the votes in the Legislative Council than in the Legislative Assembly and well over a quota in all but one region. As of this morning, the ALP’s vote in was 4.59 per cent lower in the Legislative Council than in the Legislative Assembly; the Coalition’s was 4.75 per cent lower; and the Greens’ was .35 per cent lower, making a total deliberate shift by voters to micro-party candidates of 9.69 per cent.

    Victoria does not require voters to fill out all the squares below the line, so the complaints about the difficulty of voting below the line that apply for the Senate do not apply to the Legislative Council.

    My submissions on the Senate system to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which deal with these arguments in more detail, are Nos 131 and 131.1 at:

  28. 45, no, they’ll need the greens & the micro parties. There aren’t enough micro parties to get legislation through on their own.

  29. 47 they were elected on a joint ticket so that would be a big call. Even then you’d need get the approval of: Nats, Shooters, Country Alliance, the DLP, Vote 1 local jobs and Sex, that’s not much of a second path.

  30. Some classic perverse consequences.

    As a Greens supporter, I very much hope tee Greens vote falls in NV to allow a Labor candidate to get up over CA.

    Similarly, ALP supporters – who presumably would prefer Sex over Lib – would be hoping for some Labor deterioration in SM.

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