New South Wales election late counting

Progressive coverage of late counting in close seats for the New South Wales election.

Monday night

It’s looking increasingly like the Greens will win Ballina but Lismore will stay with the Nationals, while Labor appears to believe it has won Gosford and The Entrance. That suggests a final score of Coalition 54, Labor 34, Greens three and independents two.


A commenter at Antony Green’s blog, whom I take to be Graham Askey of Help End Marijuana Prohibition, says based on his observations from scrutineering that the Greens stand to receive 65% of Labor preferences with 6% goign to the Nationals, while other minor candidates’ preferences are going 20% Greens and 30% National. This suggests a Nationals win by about 51-49. Furthermore, Nationals scrutineers reportedly put the Labor flow to the Greens quite a bit lower, at around 55%. Absent votes have been bit better for the Nationals than I was budgeting for, resulting in current primary vote totals of Nationals 42.6%, Greens 26.4% and Labor 25.6%, compared with my earlier projections of 42.2%, 26.7% and 25.6%.


The aforementioned blog post also relates from Greens scrutineers that they are getting 63% of Labor preferences with barely over 5% going to the Nationals, which is easily enough for them to win the seat. As in Lismore, the Nationals have done better than projected on counting of absents so far, but not by so much as to disturb the general impression.


A very strong performance by Labor on the batch of absents added on Friday has caused them to pull into the lead by 51 votes. Kevin Bonham relates that Labor tweeted on Friday that it had won by 76 votes, which is puzzling because it is not reflected in the results on the Elections NSW website.

The Entrance

Labor has claimed victory here as well, with a current lead of 145 and presumably few if any votes outstanding.

Wednesday night

In The Entrance, the first batch of absents has gone 171-153 in favour of Liberal. You would expect absents overall to be more favourable to Labor, but the counting of them tends to proceed erratically as batches from different places are added to the count. Together with other increments of votes, mostly postals, the Labor lead has worn down from 157 to 74, with a large number of outstanding absents to decide the issue. In Gosford, there were 864 absents and 196 postals added to the count, and the absents are perhaps surprising a little in failing to give Labor the fillip they needed, thus far breaking 500-459 in favour of Labor. Nothing today in Ballina, and only 191 postals in Lismore. In East Hills the Liberals lead by 768, which I’ve got coming down to 638 after plugging the gaps between the primary and two-party counts. There should be at least another 3500 absent votes to come, but clearly Labor aren’t going to get there. I’m projecting the Liberal winning margin at 0.9%.

Tuesday night

I’m still behind the eight-ball on The Entrance, which is unfortunate because Ben Raue is projecting there’s three votes in it. Will get some modelling of my own done on that tomorrow. In Lismore, the Nationals had another big fillip courtesy of the Tenterfield pre-poll booth, where they scored 797 out of 1313 formal votes (60.7%). On top of that another batch of 253 postals were roughly as favourable as those previously. The Greens’ lead over Labor has narrowed still further, from 1.04% to 0.54%, but I’m projecting final primary vote totals of 42.2% for the Nationals, 26.7% for the Greens and 25.6% for Labor, factoring in a strong performance for the Greens on absents. Only a trickle of postals were added to the count in Ballina, but here I’m projecting Nationals 36.9%, Greens 26.7% and Labor 24.9%, which still looks like a Greens win to me. In Gosford, Labor still has its nose in front by 37 thanks to a 394 gain from the 5603 votes at the Woy Woy polling booth, which all but cancel out 1922 postals which favoured the Liberals by 442. However, the trend on postals is menacing for Labor, with at least 1000 more likely to be outstanding. Against that are about 3500 outstanding absent votes to add to the small sample of 307 accounted for already, which were very strong for the Greens but otherwise only slightly favourable to Labor. Nothing new in East Hills.

Monday night

Kevin Bonham and Ben Raue are doing more and better work than me here. I don’t have time to account below for The Entrance, which still looks very close, or Gosford, where the Liberals have firmed. I should start to get on top of things from tomorrow evening. The quick takeout is that late counting has transformed the situation in Ballina and especially Lismore, and while they’re probably still to be favoured in the former, the latter is a three-way bet. The Liberals should get home in East Hills.


The Greens (26.3%) are falling so far back on late counting in Lismore that it’s no longer clear they’ll finish second ahead of Labor (25.3%). Should Labor pull ahead, it will then be a hard-to-call race between the Nationals (41.1%) and Labor, rather than Nationals and the Greens. Antony Green observes that on election night, “the flow of Green and minor party preferences was 8% to National, 62% to Labor and 30% exhausted”. But given the later counting has much fewer Greens votes, it would probably be a bit flattering to Labor to project those totals across them. If you do it anyway, Labor end up 0.6% ahead. With respect to how preferences might flow between the Nationals and the Greens, we’re completely flying blind. For what it’s worth, Antony calculates that using the Greens are 0.7% ahead if Labor preferences happen to behave the same way as Greens ones. Today we had nearly 10,000 pre-polls added, together with 2578 iVotes and 1588 of late-reporting election day votes. The disparities between each vote type continue to astound, with the Nationals scoring 56.9% on postals, 47.1% on pre-polls, 42.4% on iVotes and 39.8% on ordinary booth votes. The Greens scored 29.2% on the day and 27.1% on iVotes, but 21.4% on pre-polls and just 13.7% on postals. The remainder of primary vote counting should be a see-saw between about 3000 absents and 2000 postals, which were respectively run heavily in favour of the Greens and the Nationals.


All the trends noted above for Lismore apply in Ballina too, and here also they’re sufficient to place the Greens’ presumed win in doubt. But as Kevin Bonham notes, the trump for the Greens in comparison with the Lismore count is that they’re likely to score well from the preferences of independent Jeff Johnson, an ex-Greens councillor.

East Hills

There are no 2PP updates on non-booth votes, so I’m going to have to extrapolate booth vote preferences on to primary votes for late counting. The Liberals had a 352 vote lead on booth votes, and 2466 postals have added another 454 to that. Labor clawed back 135 on 5400 pre-polls, but they’re 537 in arrears all told, and the record of absents in 2011 provides no indication Labor can expect them to ride to the rescue.

Sunday night

This thread will progressively be updated over the coming week or two to follow the progress of late counting in close seats for the New South Wales election. It seems the Coalition has won a clear 52 seats, with the Liberals on 36 and the Nationals on 16, with Labor on 32, the Greens on three and independents on two (Greg Piper in Lake Macquarie and Alex Greenwich in Sydney). That leaves a fairly short roll call of four seats in doubt – the Central Coast seats of Gosford and The Entrance, where Labor respectively leads by 0.5% and 0.6%; East Hills in southern Sydney, where the Liberals are 0.6% in front after a very strong result in a seat where their existing margin was just 0.1%; and Lismore, where the flow of preferences from a 25.3% Labor vote will decide if the Greens can overhaul a primary vote deficit against the Nationals of 29.2% to 40.1%.

Due to the other distractions, Lismore was the only seat I looked at closely yesterday, as an apparent Greens win had been thrown into doubt by the counting of 886 postal votes, 56.9% of which were for the Nationals. This was 17.5% higher than their polling booth vote, compared with only an 8.2% difference in 2011. No indicative Nationals-versus-Greens preference count is being conducted in this seat – the lineball result on the ABC site is based on Antony Green’s guesstimate of likely preference flows. The NSWEC has pulled its original Nationals-versus-Labor preference count and is telling us we won’t get anything back until “the Distribution of Preferences has been completed for all Districts and candidates have been declared elected”.

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.

168 comments on “New South Wales election late counting”

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  1. jimmydoyle #48. 72% of the first preference votes have been counted in Gosford but the TPP figure is only from the count on the night not all that 72%.

    On the night
    13011 Lib 12014 Lab 5984 Oth became TPP
    13876 Lib 14914 Lab 2939 Exhausted

    Since then there has been
    3501 Lib 2614 Lab 1307 Other
    If we were to assume the 1307 “Other” goes as the 5984 other did on the night you get
    18604 Lib 17123 Lab or 52% vs 48%

  2. The Commission has enabled TCP count for all declaration votes including Absent, iVotes, Postals, and other DVs for the following close seats and will update them progressively over the remainder of this week.

    – Gosford
    – The Entrance
    – East Hills

    Note Lismore although a close seat can not have their declaration vote TCPs counted because an invalid set of TCP candidates were selected. The Commission plans to accelerate the the data entry of these votes to allow the full Distribution of Preferences to be completed asap.

  3. Great to have you back Outside left! After some of your projections in weeks 2 and 3 of the campaign, then I’d have thought a long quite vacation might have been the thing for you, but I am pleased you have popped your head up again. No doubt 2019 will be a piece of cake. I’m hoping you take over as ALP campaign manager!

    Jimmy – my Liberal “bias” is probably no more obvious than the bias of others on this blog – unless you’d like to turn it into some kind of North Korean Daily! Suffice to say no one comes to this equity court with clean hands.
    The fundamental problem you have is that in my analysis the ALP would need to win all of the mentioned seats to win Govt in 2019.On average the swing required to win these seats is now 9.4 pc. If you believe that this is achievable when Baird will have rolled out the benefits of polls and wires then good luck.
    And I’m not even sure why you think the Upper House will be an issue – Fred has already given in principle support for the transaction, and he with the Coalition is 22/42 – on my maths a majority!
    Keep the delusional dream alive boys!

  4. This result is a disaster for Labor. End of Story. At a time when Labor all around the country is experiencing a huge revival, a swing of less than 10% is sorely disappointing.

    As Egan said, Labor needs to grow up on the matter of electricity privatisation. If The party had let Carr sell the generators in 1997, it would have made over $35 billion in revenue to spend on transport at the time. $35 billion at the time (include inflation to this day and the cheaper cost of transport at the time) would have meant that today we would have had one of the worlds best transport systems.

    Most of suburban sydney saw straight through the campaign as the bull that it was. Seats which have historically been safe Labor territory such as Ryde, Parramatta and Drummoyne continue to ke held by the liberals on margins of over 10%.

    The party caucus is still full of plenty of useless talentless people who were too heavily involved with Sussex st during the 1995-2011 years.

    On the bright side, despite the lack of opposition the government is seeing, I hope that they get on with amalgamating Sydney councils into less than 10 lga’s and finally sell the electricity to the private sector.

  5. swamprat @ 403 other thread:

    [I do not know why people in Ballina electorate voted the way they did but it was curious that the ALP ran on:

    – stopping CSG mining (yet it was the former corrupt ALP Government that handed out the mining leases;

    I think most ALP MP’s want to be Liberals but just didn’t go to the right schools.]

    I can’t really comment on the Byron developments, but the railway should come back.

    As far as CSG and the ALP goes locally tho both Janelle Saffin (former fed member for Page) and Justine Elliot (Fed Richmond) both were/are vocal opponents of CSG. Elliot stepped down/was dumped from a position of Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2013 because of her attitude to CSG mining and the conflict it created with Federal policy. Saffin might win Page next time if she runs, especialy if she is vocal about her opposition to CSG cos its a pretty big issue here. Numerous local state ALP candidates (who tried and failed to oust Thomas George) were at the Doubtful Creek and Bentley blockades and publically expressed their opposition to CSG whatever their party thinks about it.

    So from what I saw locally the ALP is opposed to CSG for the same reason most other people are – it sucks. This might conflict with the state hierarchy, but I think the local ALP understands its got Buckley’s if it doesn’t oppose CSG mining. Its already caught between the Nationals and the Greens (the cow cockies and the hippies) so it has to go with what people actually want to remain relevant.

    The local ALP people I know from this part of the world, including former state candidates, seem fairly removed from the bullshit in Sydney and often at odds with it and very critical of the way the party works at state level and many of is decisions. FWIW.

    [ ….and finally sell the electricity to the private sector.]

    Unitary State – In case you didn’t notice it was electricity privatisation that caused the Kilmore East-Murrindindi fire. That fire contributed a significant amount to the 5 Billion or so dollars ($4.4 B plus uncounted costs) the Black Saturday fires actually cost Victoria. Specifically the owners failed to maintain the poles and wires to a standard that would protect the community during extreme weather.

    Lets hope something similar doesn’t come out of this NSW privatisation.

  6. South Australia’s greatest Liberal premier, Tom Playford, nationalized electricity to give his people cheaper power over a greater network.

    Lesser Liberals have since privatized it again. Result: Domestic electricity prices have increased by 123.7% while the CPI has gone up only 46.1% over the same period.

    Private power will always be dearer because the owners demand the greatest possible profit.

    Profits from SA are going to Hong Kong.

  7. Toorak Toff #56 That isn’t necessarily true. What happened in NSW was the government owned businesses could borrow at low rates, they then put in more poles and requested a reasonable return on capital from the regulator. This is the “gold plating” that Gillard etc talked about. Unecessary capital is then paid for with higher prices charged to the user. Private owners tend to increase profit by reducing costs not increasing capital. Victorian electricity prices are about 10% lower than in NSW.

  8. ifonly @ 57

    [Private owners tend to increase profit by reducing costs not increasing capital.]

    Private owners will increase profit by any way they can get away with.

  9. Jules:

    The root problem for the Murwillumbah branch line is that no-one wanted to send freight on it, and freight is what pays for the upkeep of rails.

    It might be more viable if the end of the line was extended to Coolangatta airport.

  10. Legislative council count has been updated, total has increased by about 200k. It looks to have favoured Labor and Coalition over the minors and Greens.

  11. TPOF#58 Why there is less of a tendency to increase capital is that private owners borrow at commercial rates so when they get commercial returns on capital based on commercial rates there isn’t much in it for them. When government borrows, they pay a lower rate and the difference is profit without having to worry about efficiencies.

  12. With the Nationals in Lismore up to 42.6% primary, and the greens down to 26.4%, the Greens need a very tight flow of preference and very little exhaustion for them to win Lismore now

  13. Greens back in front in Lismore by a whisker, 111 votes in it. And East Hills now on the “in doubt” list. Maybe the pre-poll votes are not reflecting the disgusting smear campaign against Murphy.

  14. ifonly @ 61

    I do not disagree that the capacity of governments and the instrumentalities they guarantee to borrow at lower rates than private enterprises will change how they approach what they do with the money.

    But I do question that either kind of entity will follow a classical economic model as a normal practice. For example, NSW could have directed its public entity to reduce charges if it had not been so greedy to get every penny into revenue. Equally, a private entity which is permitted to increase charges based on the amount, rather than the need, of its infrastructure development will be inclined to gold-plate if it brings disproportionately more money into the coffers.

    It’s just the generalised statement that I have problems with – like the IPA dogma that private enterprise will always be more efficient than the public sector to the extent that the public will always be better off with things run by the private sector.

  15. US

    [Most of suburban sydney saw straight through the campaign as the bull that it was. Seats which have historically been safe Labor territory such as Ryde, Parramatta and Drummoyne continue to ke held by the liberals on margins of over 10%. ]

    Many former “safe” ALP seats were only safe because they had excellent local ALP members that improved their margin – like John Watkins in Ryde. Demographically speaking, these seats are not exactly Labor heartland.

  16. Raaraa#67 The big number of votes will be the absentee votes. I think these tend to favour the left more than the vote on the night and also they favour Green rather than Labor compared to numbers on the night. So, Ivote is used by those outside the state and absentee are for those who are in the state but not their electorate. You could speculate as to why postal and ivote favour the right and absentee favour the left, it might have to do with age and wealth enabling you to travel further.

  17. harley stumm

    I am of the view that action will be taken against the Libs in East Hills.

    Those signs on Cameron’s placards were not just thought up by someone in the community they were a deliberate scare campaign.

    Interestingly Brookes owns a signwriting business and like all of his stuff they were computer generated signs not just someone defacing a sign with paint.

    Cameron said the other day that he will be looking at his options.

    Have you got the latest numbers in East Hills.

  18. Mod and Eddward, sorry for my delayed reappearance. Firstly, congrats on your win, wellplayed. Secondly, I put in on Saturday, big time, and was in no mood to play [my booth recorded a 15% swing to the good guys]. Thirdly ,work [something alien to spivs on your side] has been full on with a trip to Sydney to meet and hold my beautiful new grandson, Finn Patrick.

  19. Thanks ifonly @68

    Is the number of pre-polls rather high this year? I’m just comparing data between 2011 and 2015. Maybe I’m not looking at it right, but on current numbers it looks like 4,483 in 2011 vs 11,725 for 2015.

  20. Prepoll counting at east-hills has ALP 1.51% ahead on primaries, compared to 2.91% behind on the day. Dont think it will be enough to catch up though.

  21. So ,was East Hills the work of a lone nutter, or possibly the infamous Young Libs black ops [ you know,the ones revealed at ICAC]? To quote Daffy Duck ‘you’re dessssspicable’ you wascally wallies, you.

  22. I should stop posting, everything i says turns out to be wrong…

    The 2PP count ABC is broken for east-hills, there are less votes than the primary.

  23. bug1@77

    I should stop posting, everything i says turns out to be wrong…

    The 2PP count ABC is broken for east-hills, there are less votes than the primary.

    That usually means there are votes that have been counted as primaries but not yet sorted to 2PP. They will catch up eventually.

    Also, the ABC 2PP count does not show the number that exhaust.

  24. The Greens upper house vote has gone from 11% to 9%
    If the Greens lose Lismore and Ballina. It will mean they will have gone from 3 in the upper house +1 in the lower house to 2+2.

    Same number of elected candidates but instead of considering balance of power issues they will be answering local residents complaints about dogs, traffic and parking.

  25. On east hills. The vote on the night had Libs 1.054% of Labor and 683% of Greens and this produced a TPP 49.43% 50.57% in favour of the Libs.

    The current first preference total has Libs 1.065% of Labor and 702% of Greens. So even without an updated TPP it seems the Libs are pulling ahead. Also, I think more Green preferences will exhaust at a higher rate when there isn’t someone pushing a how to vote into the voters hands.

  26. ABC page:

    LNP on 53 seats with 55 likely.

    Three seats in doubt:
    Gosford: ALP ahead by 37
    The Entrance: ALP ahead by 163
    Lismore: LNP ahead by 309

    Unless there is something funny with the votes counted today, there has been a DRAMATIC shift in the LNP favour today…..making it look like 56-32-3-2 to me….

  27. Ballina will fall to the nats if the combination of Labor and the independent (who was a green) have 50% exhaustion and preference 80/20.

  28. Bad aftertaste for ALP if they fail to win Gosford and The Entrance given the Central Coast represents the heart of liberal inequity in ICAC

  29. [Edwina StJohn
    Posted Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 7:52 pm | PERMALINK
    No happiness it’s 55 LNP 33 alp]

    If Gosford, The Entrance and Lismore go to the LNP its 56-32-3-2

    If Ballina falls (as per if only above) then its 57-32-2-2

  30. bug1@88

    Where does the ABC get their 2PP preferred numbers from, i just see primaries for east hills.

    If you go to you can get the FPs and TCPs for each seat (except Ballina, Lismore and Wollongong where the TCPs aren’t published since they picked the wrong party).


    But in this case the ABC site is ahead of the official site. In most cases where this has been the case it has been because they have updated faster. However as the ABC site has had a few issues I’d wait for confirmation to be sure.

  31. A lot of the remaining votes to be counted are absentees and declaration votes, which tend to strongly favour the greens.

    People who are pessimistic about Labors chances in Gosford and the entrance may need to think again.

    The greens can still get up in Lismore

  32. A question was asked about amount of pre-polls this election. The answer is they are up about 80% over 2011. This is consistent with increase experienced by other states.

  33. Tweed and Clarence are not in doubt but I took a look to see how their preferences played out.
    In both cases it is Labor vs Nats with Greens coming in 3rd. In both case we only have election night numbers and in both cases Greens make up 60-70% of the “other”.
    In Tweed 49% of Other exhausted and the remaining votes flowed 70% to Labor
    In Clarence 53% of Other exhausted and the remaining votes flowed 73% to Labor

  34. OC@94

    This was all over 2ue this morning and it looks like action will be taken over Peter Jones.

    Did we preference them on the HTV?

  35. MTBW at 95

    “This was all over 2ue this morning and it looks like action will be taken over Peter Jones.

    Did we preference them on the HTV?”

    Who do you mean by “We”? Despite all appearances to the contrary this site caters for all political persuasions.

  36. KB

    Thanks for your analysis.

    I’d be interested to know what kind of Greens to Labor flow of preferences might we be seeing in The Entrance and Gosford.

  37. OC, your concerns regarding the No land tax party look to be spot on.Also, this is their 3rd treasurer in 4 years. Can’t anyone count properly?

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