Photo finishes: lower house

Progressive updates on late counting for lower house seats in the Western Australian election.


The same story continues as before: all close seats flowing decisively to Labor through remarkably strong results on absents. Today’s batches have broken 523-371 in Jandakot, 296-214 in Joondalup, 221-206 in Kingsley and 425-326 in Murray-Wellington, putting their respective leads at 677, 309, 312 and 514.


The Liberals’ litany of bad news continues, with Kingsley, Murray-Wellington and Joondalup continuing to slip beyond their grasp on the back of a surprisingly large and consistent trend to Labor on absent votes. The ABC computer today called Kingsley and Murray-Wellington to Labor, leaving only Joondalup in doubt (along with Kalgoorlie, where the battle is between Liberal and the Nationals).

Jandakot. Labor’s lead up from 459 to 505 as absents (191-162), postals (194-188) and pre-polls (29-18) all go their way.

Joondalup. Labor’s lead now out today from 77 to 227, with absents (721-570) again doing a surprising amount of damage, but postals (165-146) going Labor’s way as well. Pre-polls went 39-19 to Liberal.

Kingsley. Labor’s lead goes from 195 to 303 as absents break 449-328, more than cancelling out an advantage to the Liberals of 221-200 on postals. Pre-polls went 23-15 to Labor.

Murray-Wellington. Labor’s lead up from 288 to 430 as absents go 716-512 to Labor, postals go 196-139 to Liberal, and pre-polls go 14-9 to Liberal.

Pilbara. Brendon Grylls’s deficit up from 585 to 624, as absents (187-171) and postals (60-36) both favour Labor, with pre-polls going 25-24 in favour of Grylls.


Another bad day for the Liberals, whose position has deteriorated in a number of seats as absent votes are added to the count. In particular, Jandakot has defied my earlier suggestion that postal votes would save Francis, to the extent that Joe Francis has conceded defeat. Labor won 59.1% out of 1332 absent votes counted today, presumably because they are coming more from the Canning Vale end of the electorate than Leeming. In Joondalup, the latest batch of absents has gone 293-226 to Labor, helping increase their lead from 17 votes to 77. In Kingsley they have today favoured Labor 283-222, cancelling out a 218-155 advantage to the Liberals on postals, with Labor’s lead edging from 191 to 195. In Murray-Wellington, 624 absents, postals and pre-polls have had little impact on Labor’s margin, which goes from 308 to 288. The other big news of the day was Brendon Grylls’ concession in Pilbara, where his deficit today grew from 505 to 585, as absents and especially pre-polls flowed against him.


The ABC computer is now listing five seats in doubt, having today called Geraldton for Liberal and Pilbara for Labor. One of the doubtful is the Nationals-versus-Liberal contest of Kalgoorlie, where the ABC computer is projecting a comfortable Liberal winning margin of 4.2%. However, this is based on a speculative preference estimate, as no notional two-party count is being conducted, so we won’t know exactly what’s happened here until the end of the count. That leaves four outstanding Labor-versus-Liberal contests that will determine Labor’s final tally of between 37 and 40 in the house of 59. I’ll also keep at least a lazy eye on Baldivis, where independent Matt Whitfield has finished ahead of the Liberals and could maybe pull off a miracle if he gets an extraordinarily strong flow of preferences over serial Labor bridesmaid Reece Whitby.

This thread will cover the progress of the late count in these seats, in progressively greater detail as I get my act together. I’ll also continue running my upper house simulations on a daily basis on the existing post.

Jandakot. Liberal leadership aspirant Joe Francis trailed by 26 votes on election night, and now trails by four. My feeling is that Francis will get up, as the first 840 postals have behaved fairly typically in going 54.4% his way, and there should be plenty more where they came from. Labor has picked up 52.6% of the first 582 absents, but the behaviour of absents tends to be uneven depending on where particular batches came from, and the ones counted so far may be uncommonly strong for Labor. The same may be true of the first 536 pre-polls, which have so far broken to Labor in similar fashion to postals, although it’s of concern to Francis that these so far have been less favourable to him (in relative terms) than they were in 2013.

Joondalup. Labor’s 187 vote margin on election night has whittled down to 17. There are now 3338 pre-polls in the count, which is presumably most of them, and they have gone 52.2% to Liberal member Jan Norberger. However, 350 absents broke 350-201, which probably reflects the fact that the strongest Liberal areas are on the coast, so there is less tendency for voters there to wander over the boundary and vote in neighbouring electorates. This could prove to be a worry for Norberger, but it’s balanced on his strong 55.3% share of 1348 postals counted so far. A big question, which I am unable to answer, is how many of these are likely to be outstanding.

Kingsley. After trailing by 317 votes on the night, Liberal front-bencher Andrea Mitchell has rallied by picking up 56.4% of 1031 postals, reducing the margin to 191.

Murray-Wellington. A 415 Labor lead on election night is down to 308, mostly on account of Liberal member Murray Cowper picking up 57.7% of 769 postals. However, a possible fly in his ointment is Labor’s 60.9% share of the first 156 absents, which may reflect the fact that these are more likely to come from the Bunbury and Mandurah ends of the electorate.

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.

16 comments on “Photo finishes: lower house”

  1. I think you mean Pilbara for Labor.

    Why would there be less tendency for coastal voters in Joondalup to wander outside the electorate? The ones in the east are equally blocked by the lake.

  2. Slightly weird thing with Baldivis: The WAEC reckon the Christians got 78 votes out of 278 at John Calvin School – that’s 28%, compared to 29% for Labor and 19% for Whitfield (they got 1-3% at every other booth). Looks like somebody fat-fingered that… 7 or 8 is much more believable. Probably makes a fraction of a % difference, but it’s worth mentioning.

  3. Reece Whitby must wonder what he has to do to get into Parliament.

    Just can’t seem to get the planets to align for him.

    Hopefully he can get up.

  4. Looks like today’s counting is edging noticeably to the ALP. Not over, but the sounds of the fat lady singing are heard in the dark Liberal valley.
    As an aside, from the other side of Australia, this was over when Colin said he would not serve a full term if elected. Voters said: why wait, lets get it done now.

  5. Al pal

    I read someone lamenting that the opposition to Roe 8 was led by people from outside the area who would not benefit from improved roads.

    Jandakot covers several suburbs directly linked to the proposed roads and the people there have spoken.

  6. The ABC computer has called Kingsley and Murray-Wellington for the ALP – so now 40 seats.
    Only Joondalup (ALP by 235) and Kalgoorlie (no 2CP yet) are still to be decided.

  7. And now Joondalup has been called for the ALP for 41 seats. That’s a monstering by anyone’s definition.

    Only Kalgoorlie outstanding, and that will be probably Lib, possibly NAT, unlikely ALP.

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