Queensland election live: week two

With counting set to drag into a second week, Labor remains on the precipice of majority government.

Tuesday, December 5

Hetty Johnston has conceded defeat in Macalister, which would seem to remove the final obstacle to Labor’s 47 seats, with Townsville still outstanding. Only a handful of votes were added to the count there today, but there is talk in comments that Labor scrutineers believe they have a lead of over 100 votes.

Monday, December 4

A second batch of absents in Townsville has been better for the LNP than the first, breaking 244-240 to Labor rather than 520-428. Since my projection of these votes had been based on the behaviour of the first batch, this eliminates the gain I was projecting Labor to make on late counting, such that my projected final outcome is no different from my estimate of the two-party preferred result. I’m still projecting a little more than 1000 votes to come, but this is based on patterns from 2015 that may not repeat this time. So the only thing to be said about this is that it’s right down to the wire, as far as I can tell. The correctness of my assumption relies on preferences from votes counted after the ECQ turned off two-party counts on Tuesday (of which there have been 3103) behaving the same as those from before (of which there were 24,981). The two groups of votes behaved almost identically on the primary vote, so there is no obvious reason to think that they won’t.

Elsewhere, it’s the same story as before, with everything depending on preference distributions that we can’t yet see. It’s looking hopeless for Labor in Maiwar, with a 51-vote deficit against the Greens set to be compounded by independent preferences. The shortfall Hetty Johnston needs to cover on preferences in Macalister continues to widen slowly, now at 3.5%, although that would have to be about it.

Friday, December 1

With a week’s worth of counting completed, there is still a wide zone of uncertainty surrounding the Queensland election result that will linger until Tuesday. In the race to 47, Labor appears to start on an assured 45 (subject to a few qualifications noted at the bottom of the post), or 46 if you include Rockhampton like everyone else is doing. It seems more likely than not that Macalister will put them on the top, and the chance of an extra layer of icing was increased by today’s counting in Townsville. The LNP starts on 39, can make that 40 if they make it Townsville, and then 41 if they don’t lose Hinchinbrook to Katter’s Australian Party, which remains an unknown quantity.

In Townsville, 990 absent votes have been added, which I’m taking to be about half the total based on there being 1829 of them at the 2015 election. I had been projecting these to break 51.5-48.5 to the LNP, but my two-party estimate actually has them going 54.9-45.1 to Labor. With 423 various other types of vote added to the count over the past few days breaking almost evenly, my two-party estimate has Labor all of five votes in front. I’m projecting that to grow to 75 – but, this is based on the assumption that the outstanding absent votes will behave the same way as those that have already reported, and absent votes characteristically vary significantly between different batches as they come in from different areas. My projection:

In Maiwar, various types of non-ordinary vote were added to the count haven’t changed the situation: the Greens lead by four, and stand to gain 150 to 200 when the independent’s preferences are distributed. With less than 1000 votes likely still to come, Labor’s only hope would seem to be an error turning up.

There can only be a handful of votes left in Macalister, and the situation is basically unchanged, with the LNP leading Hetty Johnston by 3.4% in the race for second, and Johnston needing the 13.5% to be distributed as preferences to close the gap, in which case she will beat Labor on LNP preferences. Johnston herself says it’s more likely than not she won’t make it, but no one seems to know for sure.

Finally, a piece in Inside Story by former Age journalist Tim Colebatch identified a few possibilities for One Nation boilovers that others have overlooked or discounted. One was Thuringowa, where One Nation could win if LNP and Katter’s preferences are particularly tight, although I suspect Colebatch is overlooking the fact that LNP had One Nation last on preferences here. The other was Rockhampton, in the event that Labor fails to get a solid flow of Margaret Strelow’s preferences (though Strelow herself seems to be well informed about the count, and hasn’t mentioned this as a possibility.

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.

91 comments on “Queensland election live: week two”

  1. Gotta say, it would be really nice if the ABC explained some of these calls they’re making. What has happened today in Maiwar to enable them to make that call? I’ve not been able to find anything anywhere about it (or Macalister, which they’ve been claiming as settled for a week now).

  2. Thanks Upnorth for your briefings about Townsville. Your contributions, as with others ,are a good example of how social media are providing information supplementing the official sources.
    With the dust basically settled, I look forward to William’s thoughts on the results.
    I believe PHON is now a spent and future non-force. Some of the issues ahead, particularly for the LNP , are how it deals with the challenge of the Katter Party in Nth Qld, how it can win back (or hold) seats now that the Adani issue is finished and how it handles the urban/regional divide (particularly with recognizing that government can only be won in SE Qld and therefore becoming, somewhat reluctantly, an urban Liberal Party and a regional National Party forming a coalition AFTER an election.). Its leadership decisions may need to take the regional divide into consideration, for example, having a Nth Qld National member as its leader, rather than a SE Qld member such as Deb Frecklington .
    For Labor, focussing strongly on Nthn Qld to consolidate their seats and take marginal and Katter seats is obviously a high priority. The Grns loom as threats in inner-city seats but possibly only in a majority government scenario. Labor can now longer use minority government as an excuse,no matter how valid it was this election. It needs to deal with members like Joanne Miller to present a united front. It needs to pursue a strong job creation program and improve social services across the State, while dealing with State debt. Its key seats lie in SE Qld and coastal regional Qld such as Rocky, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Maryborough.
    So Williams thoughts on these scenarios will be very interesting. Thanks, William, for your work. I look forward to your work in the upcoming Tassie and SA elections.

  3. It looks like the ballot draw has saved Labor in Macalister, despite their candidate being last on the ballot. Apparently enough “Greens voters” cast a donkey vote, which ended up up on the LNP pile and knocked out Hetty Johnston.

  4. Stim- yes the donkey vote was always going to add say 200 votes to LNP cf Johnston. Will be interesting if the margin is that close – got my doubts but we will see.

  5. Anyone assuming that PHON is now a non-force is displaying a high degree of wilful optimism given the level of support it received in northern and central Queensland. There is a lot of discontent out there that the LNP can’t seem to harness. PHON will receive a large sum of public funding from that vote to finance her ability to continue to make mischief next time round. I believe I saw a sum of around a million dollars mentioned.

  6. ECQ have Preference Counts up in three seats including Burdekin. Burdekin has ALP on 51.37%. 628 votes ahead of LNP. Another 6000 votes to be distributed.

  7. TCP is slowly being released by the ECQ. Big surprise in Burdekin with the ALP ahead on a 2PP basis?!

    Edit: Following upnorth’s previous comment, it appears the 2CP count now matches the primary count. LNP a whisker in front.

  8. @Doug. Yes I may be guilty of wilful optimism, but I’m one of many who wish to see the back of this horrible Party. Yes, this Party collected about 13% of the vote, but, Doug, it failed to gain a seat. Yes, it may have been a player in the electoral games that saw some seats change hands or be retained, but, government in this State is determined by who wins the SE corner,not in some regional or western seats.
    How many times has this Party gone to elections,both State and Federal, and come out, metaphorically, empty-handed? How many times, after “howlers” from its leaders ,both Federally and State, has it spectacularly failed, yet again?
    I acknowlege that its “policies” are acceptable to many thousands of voters disenchanted both with the major parties and societal change in Australia. As for the one million plus dollars it pockets ,howmuch of that will the publicand its supporters see?
    But, in spite of this protest vote, PHON has failed again to win any seats or influence Government in any way. Inspite of the media giving Pauline Hanson coverage way beyond what her Party actually warrants, her Party has failed once again.
    So yes, I am guilty of wilful optimism but realistically, can this Party ever be taken seriously?

  9. In my rather humble opinion, I doubt PHON will die on the vine. The $1 million will be a large boost, and Hanson still has federal senate as a soapbox. The party will survive without multiple seats. Whether the one Qld member is still a PHON member in 3 years is not a sure thing given past history.

    It will be harder next time in Qld if LNP (or whatever the party is then) does not form a preferencing alliance as happened in this election. But if Labor governs the regions weakly, or is seen to do so, and LNP is viewed as weak, then that vote will stay with protest parties.

  10. The Rockhampton 2PP is up. In the end Barry O’ROURKE for the ALP got a quite comfortable 55.19% of the 2PP as compared to the ONP candidate.

    It will be interesting to see the gap between the ONP candidate and the Independent Margaret Strehlow at the point Strehlow was knocked out, when the full distribution of preferences are available.

  11. Agree with Wombat – noting that in the regions where PHON ran candidates they polled consistently over 20% in quite a few electorates. they will have no difficulty returning a Senator. Their impact curiously enough is to disrupt parties on the right more than the ALP = the potential problems they raise for the LNP are almost endless.

  12. jeffemu – by we I am sure you mean the forces of good. Am told Townsville is locked and loaded to make 48 for the ALP. Picked up a couple more votes today.

  13. Can anyone remember a previous general election in Australia in which the final outcome still seemed to be unavailable on the second day after the postal vote cutoff?

  14. Buderim 2PP has LNP v ALP listed on ECQ.

    This required a decently strong flow of Greens preferences to Labor to close a 6.2% gap to ONP with a 12.1% Green vote. Embarrassing result for Steve Dickson to finish a distant 3rd, but I guess it’s just further proof that most voters are marking the box for the party not the candidate. He way overestimated his personal vote in the electorate.

  15. What are they waiting for? They should have all the votes now and can have done the actual preference distributions. If It is very close and needs a recount in a seat they should still have released that info.

  16. In the Maiwar count, they will still have a pile of 3673 Labor prefs to distribute. Check the total 2PP distributed against the vote totals.
    Berkman only needs about 70% of those to take the lead and he’s been getting over 80%.

    Edit: just as I post, ECQ have updated to a 1036 vote win for Berkman after all votes distributed.
    Edit2: Berkman needed around 74% of preferences from Labor + Diamond, he got close to 79%. A little lower than the scrutineer reports were indicating, but still comfortable enough.

  17. Concessions count for nothing in actual election counting, except for not applying for recounts/court challenges.

    Where are you getting the LNP winning Maiwar from?

  18. Tom ECQ had initial TCP LNP 51.54 – bit like Burdekin yesterday where it had ALP ahead at first – now all votes are in the Green get elected. Disciplined ALP Voters.

  19. Scott Stewart in Townsville a lucky winner. Got the donkey vote – had it been to LNP they would have won. Stewart had one of the biggest swings against Labor, disguised somewhat as he did not have the donkey vote last time.

  20. Seats left to declare:

    1. Capalaba (ALP)
    2. Hervey Bay (LNP)
    3. Hinchinbrook (KAP)
    4. Mermaid Beach (LNP)
    5. Mundingburra (ALP)
    6. Pumicestone (LNP)
    7. Redlands (ALP)
    8. Thuringowa (ALP)
    9. Toowoomba South (LNP)

    LNP sources were suggesting that Nicholls won’t concede until Mundingburra and Thuringowa are declared.

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