New England by-election live

A New England by-election discussion thread, and (later) live commentary of the count.

9.25pm. Most booths in now. Labor’s primary vote swing has limped to 4%, while Joyce’s has remained in double figures and the two-party swing has settled at around 6%.

8.10pm. Now up from 66 to 74 booths counted out of 104, and Labor’s position seems to be slowly improving as larger booths report, their two-party swing now nudging up to 3.8% and the projected two-party swing to the Nationals now below 7%.

8.06pm. The ABC site has been a while updating.

7.31pm. The vote tally remains dominated by rural booths, but so far this is a remarkable result for Barnaby Joyce, and a troubling one for Labor, who have so far gained 1.9% with 24.1% available from Tony Windsor.

7.21pm. Actually, we do have the Hillvue booth from Tamworth, where Joyce’s swing is a below average 1.6%. The spread of non-Nationals votes is about the same though.

7.18pm. The only outstanding point of interest is whether we will see different patterns when results come in from Armidale and Tamworth.

7.11pm. It would seem a surprisingly high share of the Tony Windsor vote is going to Joyce, which it might have been thought would go to Rob Taber or Labor.

7.07pm. With 15 booths reporting out of 112, it’s rather impressive that Barnaby Joyce is projected to pick up a 10% two-party swing against Labor.

7.00pm. Antony Green now projecting Labor to run second, with a mere 8.2% of the primary vote, such is Joyce’s dominance. Surely though Labor couldn’t fail to improve on 2016 with Tony Windsor’s 22.6% up for grabs.

6.55pm. Turns out I wasn’t looking hard enough for the ABC’s booth level numbers, which are here.

6.52pm. There are now 12 booths in on the primary vote, and in the four I’ve looked at, Barnaby Joyce’s primary vote is up in all them, from a little to a lot. Antony Green is projecting 70.7% for Joyce on the primary vote, so I think it’s safe to say he’s not in trouble.

6.41pm. With two booths to work with, Antony Green projects a 71.6% Nationals 2PP, which inflates to 85.4% if he extracts a result from a third booth with primary vote numbers only by assuming preferences will flow as they did in the other two booths. So either the swing to the Nationals in the third booth is very strong, or the Nationals have done extremely well out of preferences in the first two booths – as it figures they would, since this is a strong Nationals area. All of which amounts to a lot of analysis of not very much.

6.36pm. Now there are two booths in on two-party, and the AEC is projecting a 71.55-28.45 win for Joyce over Labor, although Labor are actually running fourth though. Tiny booths though that will behave differently from the ones in the big towns.

6.33pm. Two very small rural booths in, and apparently Barnaby Joyce’s vote is up 8.1%. Beyond that there’s no booth-level reporting available anywhere, so I’m not going to be able to offer much depth of analysis.

6.17pm. An ALP activist on Twitter reports a 22% drop in turnout in Armidale South.

6pm. Polls have closed. Rural booths should start reporting very shortly indeed, probably inside half an hour.

6am. Barnaby Joyce’s moment of truth arrives today in the form of the New England by-election. Despite a certain amount of late campaign excitement, the by-election has not attracted much interest on the betting markets, with Ladbrokes continuing to rate Joyce an unbackable $1.01 favourite. My summary of the situation is here; live coverage of the count will commence at 6pm. Until then, here’s a thread for discussion.

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.

167 comments on “New England by-election live”

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  1. Can’t wait to hear the Murdoch rags crowing that Barnaby winning in New England is a “firm vote of confidence in the Turnbull government and repudiation of Labor.”

  2. Despite the government’s recent woes, I’m still almost certain Barnaby is going to win with a comfortable majority. Nonetheless, a big swing against him would still pretty damn damaging to Turnbull.

  3. So why has the media not covered the great untold story at a time in history where those great untold stories are being told. It seems a little off to me, but then again the Australian media serves us really really really poorly. For an industry that considers itself really a very important element of a successful democracy that deserves very significant perks and benefits to help them, they act more like a dangerous corrupt industry democracy would be better off entirely without.

  4. Reason to believe that Windsor’s vote suppressed both ALP & Greens vote. The other interesting issue will be the extent to which those who have voted for PHON or Shooters Party stick with Barnaby or vote for anyone else

  5. Bellinger River ALP‏ @BellingenLabor · 1h1 hour ago

    Lots of people turning up at the booth in south Armidale saying I will vote for anyone except the #KIWI. #beatbarnaby #newengland #votelabor

  6. I’ve done my bit against Barnaby. A drop in the ocean, unfortunately.

    I had to queue for five minutes or so, nothing major.

    He had lots of volunteers at the main town hall booth.

    And the weather is cloudy, no rain, BW, so there is no disincentive of that sort to stop people voting.

    Lots of rain on the radar at Narrabri and heading this way. Maybe in an hour or two we will have rain.

  7. “The two figures to watch are shift from Joyce’s primary of 52.3% and from Labor’s 7%.”

    While a Barnaby win is almost certain, the second figure to watch is more likely that of an Independent like Rob Taber than the Labor candidate. Tony Windsor was a popular Independent for many years, and in the 2013 election (when Tony Windsor didn’t run) Independent Rob Taber came in second with 13.7% of the primary vote & 35% of 2 candidate preferred. Labor hasn’t polled this high any time this century.

    I do hope all these independents and minority parties have been smart about preferences, to maximise a swing.

  8. Morton in The Oz

    ‘…The Australian Electoral Commission recorded 32,836 pre-poll votes before the voting stations even opened today, suggesting a third of the electorate were already decided.

  9. If that prick gets back in he’ll be on fully Government funded paternity leave next February.

    I wonder if the mother will apply for Centrelink benefits?

    Bloody welfare bludging single mothers and their no hoper bum partners.

  10. It’s difficult to know what might happen because its such a diverse electorate beyond stating that what poll data that has been reported suggests a clear Joyce victory. The social media feeds including the #NewEnglandvotes twitter are completely unrepresentative, something I learned when I over-estimated Mr Windsor’s vote last time. I would say that’s even truer this time. There is more personal, less policy or argument. I switched the feed off because I couldn’t bear reading it anymore.

    Logically, one would expect Mr Joyce’s vote to be down a little given citizenship and government problems as well as the swirling stuff around his personal life, although there does appear to be a sympathy vote as well as the citizenship one. Reading the media across the electorate, none of the other candidates appear to have articulated a clear positive message tailored specifically to New England.

    Outside Mr Joyce, I am watching four candidates, Peter Wills (Greens), Rob Taber (independent), David Ewings (Labor) and Peter Mailer (Country Minded).

    The Green vote was abysmal last time (less than 3%) in part because Mr Windsor absorbed some of it. I would expect it to be higher this time, if localised. Last election, Mr Taber’s vote (2.8%) was decimated by Mr Windsor’s last minute decision to run. He has been campaigning and should attract more votes this time.

    This is the second time Mr Mailer has run. He got only 1.41% last time, but is better known now, has some apparent backing from Mr Windsor and has been campaigning despite the harvest. New England has a long standing genuine independent nonparty base vote that I’m guessing is about 20-25%. With some re-assertion of traditional party loyalties, I’m guessing that all the independents between them will get that order of the vote. Note that I am treating Mr Mailer as an independent for practical purposes.

    Labor’s David Ewings ran last time. Labor had been rebuilding its base after a long period of neglect and he ran a genuine campaign that I actually expected to do a little bit better than it did, attracting 7.01% of the vote. Labor should pick up a little, although their position on APVMA is likely to cost it some votes at least in Armidale.

    While Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow (Science Party) is not in the mix, I note for personal reasons that he was active in the UNSW Circus Society at the same time as my daughter!

    So pulling all this together, we don’t know the extent of the protest vs sympathy vote, so you have a possible range for Mr Joyce that could be as much as 8%. I expect the Green vote to increase, the Labor vote to stay around the same, again with a possible range in each case measured in multiple %s. That then leaves the rest where I expect the independents to dominate. Here the apparent question is Taber v Mailer.

    I have stuck my neck out. Where am I wrong?

  11. Laughs again, Boewar. Thank you. I do know the electorate quite well, something that adds to the interest. I hope that we get good coverage tonight in comments here to add interest to a tragic like me.

  12. We will soon find out how deep is the disaffection with the Nationals in NSW. The Right is under pressure everywhere else and have seen their vote crumbling in favour of all manner of anti-incumbent ratbags. In NE, where anti-Establishment voting has a good pedigree, it’s quite obvious the Establishment have been doing everything they can to discredit themselves. They might well bring about their own defeat today.

  13. Boerwar says:
    Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm
    8 minutes to go.

    Perhaps the fate of the government is in the balance. Democracy rocks.

  14. Turnbull almost certainly ain’t going unless Barnaby losses and that’s wildly unlikely. They have no one to replace him with and the Nats being in a fighting mood reduces the incentive even further. Whoever it is would just be a sacrifice to the altar of public wrath.

  15. Bellinger River ALP‏
    From Armidale south.
    Voters down 22 per cent on 2016
    1217 votes in 2016 at this booth
    959 papers issues at booth today #newengland #newenglandvotes #auspol
    3:15 PM – 2 Dec 2017

  16. @ WB – didn’t we already see a thing saying huge increase in pre poll?

    So may not actually be lower turnout? Just lower at the booth?

  17. Thx ghost. So we should expect to see low turnout at all booths, and prepoll votes behaving more like regular votes than prepoll I guess

  18. There were almost 33000 pre-poll votes cast for the New England by-election. In 2016 there were 2639.

    The 2639 were out-of-division pre-polls. The relevant comparison here is with pre-poll voting centres in the electorate, where there were 27,138 votes.

  19. Ghost is wrong about the prepolls. There were 29,190 formal prepolls cast in the 2016 election in New England. I can add informals if you’re really interested.

  20. All pre-polls in 2016, including informal votes.

    Declaration pre-poll: 2639
    Armidale PPVC: 8085 (
    Blind & Low Vision New England PPVC: 17 (
    Inverell PPVC: 4296 (
    Muswellbrook NEW ENGLAND PPVC: 1217 (
    Tamworth PPVC: 13,314 (
    Tenterfield PPVC: 1538 (

    That adds up to 31,106. Muswellbrook, though, is out-of-electorate, so you may choose to subtract it.

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