South-West Coast and Polwarth by-elections live

Live coverage of counting for two state by-elections being held today in safe conservative seats in western Victoria.

South-West Coast

Swing 2PP
Rodney Van de Hoef 1.8%
Roma Britnell (Liberal) 39.7% -22.4% 57.4%
Roy Reekie 17.2%
Jim Doukas (Country Party) 10.4% +9.4%
Michael Neoh (Nationals) 13.7% 42.6%
Pete Smith 1.9% +1.0%
Thomas Campbell (Greens) 7.9% -1.3%
Swampy Marsh 3.0%
Jennifer Gamble (Animal Justice) 1.3%
Lillian Len (Australian Christians) 1.5%
Michael McCluskey 1.5% -0.2%
TOTAL 30344 17080
Booths (out of 34) 34 34
Counted (% of enrolment) 71.0% 37.7%


Swing 2PP
Joe Miles (Greens) 17.1% +6.2%
Carmel Kavanagh (DLP) 7.9%
Melinda Cass (Country Party) 6.1% +0.8%
David O’Brien (Nationals) 12.7% 35.5%
Brendan Eckel 0.9%
Meredith Anne Doig (Sex Party) 6.7%
Richard Riordan (Liberal) 47.1% -8.6% 64.5%
Geoff Rogers (Australian Christians) 1.6% +0.8%
TOTAL 23009 20397
Booths (out of 41) 41 39
Counted (% of enrolment) 55.6% 46.5%

9.50pm. Roma Britnell has been substantially boosted by early vote, 44.1% of which went her way.

8.38pm. All booths have now reported on the primary vote, with a few outstanding on two-party preferred – not that that matters, given the Nationals are running third in both seats.

7.51pm. Jim Doukas has faded in recent counting, with Roy Reekie now well clear in second place. If he drops out before the Nationals, his preferences might put Michael Neoh ahead of Roy Reekie, but we know from the notional two-party count that the preferences aren’t there for him to overtake the Liberals. If the Nationals drop out before Doukas, Nationals preferences will presumably move straight to the Liberals as per the how-to-vote card, and won’t be there to help Doukas get ahead of Reekie. That would leave Reekie needing about 70% of preferences to favour him over the Liberals, which presumably won’t happen.

7.40pm. The Liberal primary vote in South-West Coast has improved a little, but remains soft. But presumably the only candidate who could find the preferences to overhaul it would be Jim Doukas. The Nationals probably won’t make it to second, and it’s a known known that they are only getting a 57.4-42.6 preference split over the Liberals when they do. Roy Reekie or Jim Doukas will need more like 70% to 75%.

7.32pm. Jim Doukas could win if he finished second and got around 70% of preferences.

7.30pm. New booths include a fourth of the Warrnambool seven, but they aren’t transforming Michael Neoh’s situation, which is that he’s playing for second place against proxy Labor candidate Roy Reekie and a strongly performing Jim Doukas of the Australian Country Party, as the Country Alliance has cutely renamed itself.

7.22pm. The South West Coast count is bouncing around a bit because we’ve had rural booths first, now a mixture, and later it will be the larger centres dominating. Whereas Polwarth’s booths are all similarly sized, so it’s regional peculiarities aren’t coming through in the count. Michael Neoh has moved back further with the most recently added booths from South West Coast, which mostly tells us that none of them were from Warrnambool.

7.18pm. Three of the eight Warrnambool booths are in now for South-West Coast, and the Liberal vote has come down pretty hard, with Michael Neoh as expected improving — but he’s still third behind Labor-identifying independent Roy Reekie, and so far his preference flow is only slightly higher than the Liberals (52.8-47.2).

7.09pm. The Nationals aren’t even coming second in either seat, although Warrnambool booths might put them ahead in South-West Coast. The Greens are second in Polwarth, having nearly won the Anglesea booth, and actually won Deans Marsh and Lavers Hill.

7.01pm. Primary vote booths have now reported in double figures, and the Liberals are on around 50% with the Nationals polling poorly – although presumably Michael Neoh will pick up in South-West Coast when numbers report from Warrnambool, where he is mayor. Clearly no sign of a boilover though.

6.54pm. Those two-party projections I was talking about are looking a bit screwy, so I think I’ll hold off on them for the time being. Both electorates have five booths on the primary and three on two-party, and the Nationals are getting 56.8% of preferences in South-West Coast and 61.1% in Polwarth.

6.50pm. Results coming in at a bit of a clip now, including a two-party result from South-West Coast, with no indication that the Nationals are performing strongly enough to pose a threat to the Liberals.

6.39pm. Second booth in from Polwarth, and it’s a stronger result for the Liberals.

6.38pm. Second booth in from South-West Coast, and another strong result for Liberal candidate Roma Britnell.

6.35pm. One booth in from each seat, with encouraging results for the Liberals in South-West Coast but shakier ones in Polwarth, albeit off extremely small numbers so far. A projection will appear in the right column when I get some two-party counts to play with. This will be calculated by applying a booth-matched swing to the total Liberal Party votes from 2014, and then splitting up preferences between the Liberals and Nationals based on how they have divided in such booths that have reported two-party results. I do have my doubts about this, in that the swing against the Liberals could well be biggest in early-reporting small booths which are stronger for the Nationals. But we’ll see how we go.

6.25pm. Welcome to live coverage of the South-West Coast and Polwarth count, first results for which should be along very shortly. I’ll have tables up with somewhat experimental Liberal-versus-Nationals projections when there are numbers to report.

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.

27 comments on “South-West Coast and Polwarth by-elections live”

  1. Doukas preferenced to Reekie but too big a gap to close I think. Britnell’s vote is matching the Libs’ internal polling. Underperform for Nats in SW Coast but better than I expected in Polwarth.

  2. [Did the National put the Libs before ACP or Roy Reekie if so Libs can win on National Preferences]

    Libs and Nats preferenced each other second on their HTVs

  3. Doukas placed Reekie ahead of both the Libs and the Nats on their HTV – I don’t know how many people were handing out HTVs though

  4. Someone mentioned it earlier but the name Australia Country Party which is similar to the old Nationals name Country Party was not challenged maybe older voters could be confused ? Good results for them especially in South West Coast.

  5. Jim Doukas & Team

    [Hi Airlines, we had a limited number of volunteers who covered the bigger polling booths and a few who covered the rest for short periods which sadly means we didnt have HTV’s at all venues all the time.
    Thanks for the positive words.]

    Not sure how effective the HTVs will be

  6. Breakdown of on the day voting by shire
    Glenelg (Portland + Rural); Lib 44%, Roy 15.5%, Green 9.3%, Nat 8.9%, Country 3.93%
    Moyne (Mostly Rural); Lib 36.7%, Country 16%, Roy 13.8%, Nat 10.2%, Green 7.74%
    Warrnambool (Urban); Lib 28.6%, Roy 20.5%, Nat 16.2%, Country 10.7%, Green 7.8%

    Roy would be close to winning warrnambool on 2PP, But libs overwhelmed Glenelg and early voting.
    Moyne shows the Lib protest vote went to country rather than Nat.

  7. Very interesting booth results in Polwarth. This isn’t the usual Greens vote spread thinly across all booths, they actually won several booths with over 50% of the votes, while getting very little in others. I wonder if that incredible concentration is happening over more of Victoria or whether it was just a consequence of these by-election conditions, or of some campaign experiment they conducted.

  8. William do you have a table that shows the preference breakdowns? Do we have scrutineers trend breakdown? Which preferences are holding. How many postals and pre-polls are to be counted? What is Swampy Oddball’s vote doing?

    Roma Britnel is a controversial local figure she is not a popular choice. She has a case with the FWO for underpaying foreign workers. Lowest award rate. No overtime and no penalty rates. Odds are She will win. I can n it see the National’s vote splitting with a 3rd not voting for Britnel. Hr low primary vote would be of concern.

  9. Looking more closely at the vote I do not think it was a reflection on the LNP or Matthew Guy, more to do with local issues and Britnel’s low standing.

  10. Libs vote in Warrnambool went to Warrnambools Mayor (Nat), in Moyne shire went to Moyne Mayor (Country Party), Libs didnt lose votes to minors in Glenelg shire, its probably too far away for personalities to come into it and they went of brands.

    Nationals (HTV pref Lib) will leak votes to Roy (~20%), Country Party (HTV pref Roy) will leak to Libs.

    Libs only got 30% primary in Warrnambool booths on the day.

    I expect Libs will end up about 55% 2PP against Roy, its probably close to 50-50 2PP in Warrnambool


    [Possible Supreme Court action over the pre-poll period for the South West Coast by-election has been flagged by one candidate for the Victorian state seat, as counting continues following Saturday’s vote.

    “Once we have that completed, we’ll know clearly where I am in relation to Roma Britnell,” he said.

    “If the result is less than 5,000 votes in favour of Britnell, I’ll appeal the result to the Supreme Court on the basis that the pre-poll period was too long.

    “I would take that action just to go through the process and to make a point about that length of pre-poll.”]

  12. The bigger issue IMO surround the fact that the Liberals rented the shop next to the Portland early voting center.

    They rented it, filled it out with posters ready for voters from day1, 4 weeks before the poll.

    The Portland City Council delayed giving the VEC permission to put the VEC sign on the footpath for the first few days, even when the Liberals had their signs out point people into the “How to vote liberal” shop next door.

    Apparently there was quite a lot of people that went into the Liberal shop by mistake and had to be redirected. Hard to see any way that it gives all 11 candidates an equal chance at last minute impressions.

    The VEC made them aware about advertising with a certain distance of the door so they had to take some posters down from the front window on the VEC side…

    Not sure why its not being investigated. Its smells really bad.

  13. I wish him best of luck on a court challenge. Don’t see it changing the result or nullifying the election. The hens come home to roost and cows still turn up to be milked twice a day.

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