Northcote by-election live

Live coverage of the count for Victoria’s Northcote state by-election, where Labor is under challenge from the Greens.

Thorpe (Greens)
Lenk (AJP)
Rossiter (LDP)
Burns (Labor)
Booths reporting on primary vote (out of 14)
Booths reporting on two-party preferred (out of 14)
Votes counted as % of enrolment (48,113)

End of night. Postal votes have taken a bite out of the Greens margin; the table above shows a now-redundant booth-based projection that fails to reflect this. So it does not now appear that this will eclipse the party’s 45.6% vote in the New South Wales seat of Newtown as its strongest ever result on the primary vote. Ben Raue at The Tally Room has interactive results maps, which show the Greens did strikingly well in what had hitherto been the best parts of the electorate for Labor, suggesting an expanding domain of the Greens-favouring “latte belt”.

9.19pm. Thornbury now in on the primary vote, so only two two-party results outstanding.

9.08pm. Thornbury South added on primary, leaving only Thornbury; Thornbury West added on two-party.

8.54pm. Northcote South added on two-party. My earlier confidence that other projections would fall into line with mine looks to have been misplaced.

8.46pm. Fairfield and Westgarth in on two-party, producing very strong preference flows to the Greens, giving them a big lift on the projected final two-party preferred (which is now in line with the raw result).

8.40pm. Croxton reports on both primary and two-party. The primaries are relatively good for Labor, but the preference flow is relatively bad, and between the two there is little change.

8.28pm. Thornbury East added on the primary vote, pushing the Greens’ winning margin up to 6.1%.

8.26pm. My projected winning margin of 5.6% is a lot lower than Antony Green’s 9% — I expect his will come into line with mine when Northcote South and Fairfield, which weren’t so bad for Labor, report their two-party results.

8.23pm. Northcote booth added on two-party, pushing up the projected winning margin still further. The Greens have so far received 54.4% of preferences.

8.14pm. Northcote South in on the primary vote, and it’s another relatively good result for Labor. But Northcote North’s just-reported two-party result had a particularly strong flow of preferences to the Greens, so they’re position on the projection doesn’t improve much.

8.08pm. Northcote booth in on the primary vote; a relatively moderate result, but too late to save Labor.

8.03pm. Fairfield and Westgarth in on primary; Westgarth, already a strong area for the Greens, gives them their biggest swing yet. So if there was any doubt before, there isn’t now.

7.58pm. Preston South added on two-party.

7.52pm. Bell now in on two-party. Situation for the Greens getting better, not worse — they are still getting a slight majority of preferences, and are smashing it on the primary.

7.44pm. Northcote North is the first booth from the Greens’ best end of the electorate, and it maintains the overall pattern of a Greens swing of at least 10%.

7.41pm. Preston South in on primary vote; does nothing to improve the situation for Labor.

7.38pm. Alphington North now in on two-party, and you would just about call it for the Greens.

7.35pm. Alphington and Alphington North both in on primary, Alphington also on two-party. Greens getting 53% of preferences.

7.26pm. First two-party count, from Darebin Parklands, has preferences splitting 51-37 in favour of the Greens. I’m currently feeding this through to the Bell result, but it could be unrepresentative, so treat my present two-party projection with caution.

7.20pm. Much larger Bell booth is not as bad for Labor: they’re down 7.8% on the primary, and Greens up 13.6%. But that’s still enough to suggest they’re in trouble.

7.13pm. First booth in is Darebin Parklands. It’s a small booth, but an impressive result for the Greens, who are up 15.0% on the primary vote with Labor down 11.3%.

7pm. No great surprise no results are in yet, this being an inner urban electorate with large polling booths. But for what it’s worth:

6pm. Polls have closed for the by-election in Northcote, where they’re apparently experiencing a spot of rain. The table above will record the results as they come in. All “swing” figures are based on booth matching; the two-party preferred projection will fill gaps in booths where only primary votes have reported using the preference flows from booths that have reported two-party preferred, and use booth-matching to determine an overall swing. So until at least one booth is in on two-party preferred, it will record nothing.

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.

83 comments on “Northcote by-election live”

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  1. Antony Green said to not exoect much before 7 due to the size of thr booth and amount of candidates but even he seems to think its taking a while…

  2. The only positive swing has been to Informal. They must have attractive policies compared to the other parties.
    Informal 2,563 48.8% +44.5%

  3. Will: “Table glitch corrected… ” And blood-caffeine level increased? It’s the start of a longish night mate. Coffee highly recommended!

  4. Comment from Antony Green

    19:28 – Four first preference booths so far and all good news for the Greens. Their vote is up 15% and the Labor vote is down 10%

  5. This is beginning to look like a done deal. I’m surprised – I was expecting a narrow Labor win. Interesting contrast to Melbourne 2012.

  6. I think the Greens must be as surprised as anyone given some of the dirtier stuff at the end. If they had close to these numbers, it’s unlikely they’d habe gone dirty.

    The CFMEU should probably try and get it’s money back too. Pretty sure this is outside the margin of error.

  7. So pleased with this. Ideally I’d like to see a Victorian Parliament after the state election next year with 5 to 6 Greens in the lower house, working in alliance with Labor in government. The two party system we have in Australia has passed its use-by date. It’s cooked.

  8. There seems to be no Liberal candidate. None of the candidates besides Labor and Green seem to be making any impact. Are Liberals voting Green to make life difficult for the Labor Government?

    P.S. “Votes counted as % of enrolment” appears to be out of date.

  9. Labor are big trouble the south Preston booth they are tied up in terms of primary. This area around Preston is still pretty good for labor

  10. The Greens doing rather better than I expected here. If Adam Bandt’s federal results are any indication, I think its going to be very difficult for Labor to wrest the seats the Greens have already won back off of them.

  11. I’d be interested to see the effect of the Liberals’ absense for this contest. While Liberal prefences are quite favourable to Labor, you’d think most Liberal voters would still vote Labor ahead of Green when there was no Lib candidate running.

  12. Am I missing something? I’m not really aware of the Greens doing anything to warrant such a swing nor the Andrews Government or Clare Burns done something to warrant such a swing against them, or thr demographics changed dramatically over the course of 3 years…

  13. So the LDP has once again failed miserably to be kingmaker via preferences.

    Naturally the wise commentators of the major media outlets will learn from this experience and never again take seriously the claims of piddly little fringe parties to be able to influence the course of elections.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA! Just kidding. They’ll make the same mistake next time, as sure as night follows day and every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is scheisse.

  14. The lack of a lib preferenceing the ALP probably didn’t help (from the turn out it looks like they just stayed home). Add to that the demographics change and the lack of incumbancy.


    Saturday’s contest in Northcote between Labor and the Greens could be repeated at the 2018 election after new Liberal state director Nick Demiris​ announced a controversial plan to not run candidates in several inner-city seats.

    Mr Demiris offered a blunt threat to Labor: preference the Liberals above the Greens in Higgins, which the party is trying to defend, and Prahran, which it lost to the Greens at the 2014 state election. Otherwise, the party would consider not running candidates in the four inner-city electorates where Labor is fighting the Green tide.

  16. There are some Liberals who’d never vote Labor because the word Union makes them come up in hives, and there’s a degree of the reciprocal Green-Blue vote but the split has heavily favored Labor for years unless the HTV cards recommend otherwise.

    Local branch stuff might play a big role given the relatively small Liberal vote too, if someone put out the word to vote against Labor that would likely have spread pretty quickly.

  17. If the Liberal Party were stupid enough to approve that idea, they could wave goodbye to ever winning a second LegCo seat in North Metro. I suspect, when it comes to Brunswick and Richmond, that it’s not going to matter at this point.

    I think I am correct in saying that, if the Greens primary vote stays roughly where it is, it will be a record for a single-member seat in Australia? Closest I can think of is Newtown which was 45.6%.

  18. Labor has trashed the state’s biodiversity. They need to get cracking on declaring the Great Forest National Park and get commercial racehorse training off Port Fairy and Killarney Beache…if not they will lose a swag of inner Melbourne seats, including Richmond, Brunswick and Pascoe Vale.

  19. If Northcote’s gone Green then the ALP will be feeling very vulnerable in Brunswick and Richmond come the State election. If so the chances of a Labor majority government will be small. Labor and the Greens will just have to find ways to get on.

    Great to have an MLA with indigenous heritage in the Parliament and a very impressive win in light of the recent chatter about the Greens having lost momentum (mostly wishful thinking from the more tribal ALP posters I suspect).

  20. It looks like the so-called Liberal ‘masterstroke’ from 2010 of preferencing Labor ahead of the Greens might be getting the flick. That’s the same masterstroke that condemned the Liberal government to four years of hell at the mercy of a single rogue MLA, saw the premier lose his job after just two years, and ended with the first one-term government in Victoria for a gajillion years.

    Now they appear to be thinking that perhaps it wasn’t such a crash-hot idea after all. Genius.

  21. If Greens are going from 48 to 56 and Labor 34 to 44 after preferences – how does that add to Greens getting a majority of preferences?

  22. The result makes me wonder if Clare Burns was a poor fit for the electorate: seemed to act like she had barely left student politics, and hyper-focused and weak on public housing at that). Very different to Richardson, who had come across as a class act with deep policy positions.

    Labor need to do better if they’re going to hold these seats against candidates of the calibre of Lidia Thorpe. Batman is going to go next if Feeney isn’t tapped on the shoulder, and Wynne is going to hand Richmond to a wretched Green candidate unless Labor have the sense to replace him with someone vaguely popular.

  23. I had the following to say in Crikey after the census results came out in June:

    However, it’s not all good news for Labor, with other demographic trends suggesting the party will face growing pressure from the Greens, despite their stagnant electoral support in recent years.

    The areas of Sydney and Melbourne where the Greens pose the greatest threat are characterised not just by their concentrations of young voters, but also by migrant communities that have so often allowed Labor to ward off their challenge.

    However, the census data indicates that the latter kind of voter is increasingly being priced out of inner urban markets — albeit that the trend sharply reverses in the immediate orbit of the central business districts, which are particularly notable for their growing Chinese populations.

    The Greens targets of Batman and Wills in Melbourne and Grayndler in Sydney rate as three out of only four electorates where the proportion of non-English speakers actually declined between 2011 and 2016.

    While none cracks the top 10, they also land in the top quartile for declining median age, and do so off an already youthful base.

    Labor hung on precariously in Batman and Wills last year, and are probably safe in Grayndler for as long as Anthony Albanese is holding the fort.

    But in the long term, the party’s prognosis in the inner cities would seem to be rather poor — unless it fancies following Jeremy Corbyn’s example with a young-baiting switch to the left.

  24. On the Corbyn thing: they should do better than Clare Burns’ hand-painted “Burnsy <3 Corbyn" banner that was on the door of her office until someone presumably pointed out it was embarrassing.

  25. Yep, polls way off. This has been pretty consistent in polls of inner-city Labor/Greens contests – they had Labor winning Newtown at the last NSW state election too, and they got flogged 59-41.

    Absent significant changes in the general political landscape, I would think Labor might as well write off Brunswick at this point – even Ged Kearney as a candidate won’t save them if this is what Northcote is doing. (Plus, there is past evidence that strong high-profile candidates don’t save Labor without incumbency – looking again to Newtown, Balmain, even Melbourne federally.) Richmond is probably only salvageable if the Greens run Maltzahn again, and probably not even then.

    Maybe there is a way to halt the Greens advance through inner Melbourne, but if there is, it’s safe to say Labor hasn’t come close to finding it yet.

  26. Animal Justice Party – 421 votes. More than $1000 per vote???

    max – good point about Liberal Upper House chances. Many years ago even at a federal level there used to be some seats that were sometimes uncontested (I think in particular a few in rural SA) – these electorates make historical “TPP” totals a little hard to calculate accurately, but it doesn’t happen any more because there is a definite fall in the Upper House vote for that party from that electorate. The same reason why parties like The Greens run candidates in many seats where they know they can’t possibly win – it boosts their Upper House vote.

    So it will be interesting to see if this Liberal plan gets up – I see the proponent seemed to be using it more as a threat to Labor “If you preference the Greens in Higgins and Prahran, this is what we’ll do to you”.

  27. The Greens have endorsed Lidia Thorpe (right), a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman and managing director of Clan Corporation, which “provides sustainable housing and energy to remote Aboriginal communities”.

    Will Thorpe become the first indigenous women to hold a seat in the Victorian parliament?

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