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”

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  1. Am curious to know why you think the Greens will pick up so many of the Indepdendent’s preferences, given that she was not preferencing, but (as she photographed and complained about) the ALP were handing out fake how-to-vote’s for her, with ALP “2”?

  2. Labor currently about 120 ahead in Townsville – that comes from experienced scrutineers. Will be very tough for the LNP to pull that back. Just under 500 votes to come.

  3. Interesting article by Colebatch but he misses the point.There has always been a split on the right over capitalism.

    Nationalists and cultural conservatives have always been suspicious of it and want to see it restrained, think KAP One Nation or the the national front in France for that matter.

    Then you have your whig classical liberals who worship it, their the people who write for the Australian, so it is about ideology.

    The people who vote one nation don’t like the LNP because it is too free market orientated but don’t like Labor because it is not patriotic enough and too close to minority groups..

    It is not a mindless protest vote these people have found their ideological niche and they will park themselves there. Even if one nation implodes something else will occupy this space and it won’t be a Christian Party it will be a nationalist party.

  4. Am curious to know why you think the Greens will pick up so many of the Indepdendent’s preferences, given that she was not preferencing, but (as she photographed and complained about) the ALP were handing out fake how-to-vote’s for her, with ALP “2”?

    If you’re referring to Maiwar, it’s based on reports from scrutineers, as related here.

  5. William

    Thanks. Sorry for going on about it, but I still find the inability of Nicholls to admit defeat amazing. So while a Labor majority or minority government is uncertain, given the Greens have stated they will not support the LNP or PHON, can you see any way Tim Nicholls can become premier?

  6. I feel like if Thuringowa or Rockhampton were serious possibilities for One Nation, we’d have heard chatter from scrutineers by now (although general information on this front does seem pretty scarce this election).

  7. Courier Mail today suggests four way contests between John-Paul Langbroek, Tim Mander, Deb Frecklington, and David Crisafulli for the LNP leadership.

    Amazingly Langbroek is being talked about as the favorite, but party headquarters would prefer Mander apparently. Tim Nicholls does have a group of MP’s that still back him, but he hasn’t announced his intention.

    Frecklington some suggest they would like her to get more experience before becoming leader and David Crisafulli may have hurt his chances trumpeting his profile doing television and radio interviews while some of his colleagues were in the midst of losing their seats.

    Crisafulli said in one television interview the lesson that came out of this election if you don’t work hard you lose your seat. The claim is quite incredulous considering he lost his seat at the 2015 election and then was parachuted into one of the safest seats at the Gold Coast, while Scott Emerson and Ian Walker were left up a creek without a paddle trying to save their own Brisbane marginals. I can see why his colleagues noses have been put out of bent from his media appearances.

  8. By not conceding, Nicholls is trying to delegitimise the government’s election victory, just like Shorten did last year and is doing with the parliamentary sittings next week. Standard tactic, nothing remarkable.

  9. Emmerson has nobody but himself to blame. He wasn’t campaigning like he was in a marginal seat.

    I’d assumed he has been promised Brandis’s Senate ticket spot or a similar safe HoR Seat and their internals showed the seat was almost certainly lost.

    But judging by the way he’s behaved since I think it’s more likely their internal polling was showing the seat was very safe and he was overly incautious.

  10. Peterjk23 @ #11 Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 – 2:40 pm

    By not conceding, Nicholls is trying to delegitimise the government’s election victory, just like Shorten did last year and is doing with the parliamentary sittings next week. Standard tactic, nothing remarkable.

    Perhaps Nicholls was asked not to concede until after the New England by-election?

  11. The Libs were expected to win the Townsville seat at the federal election but late votes unexpectedly went to Labor, as now.

  12. Burdekin – with almost 88% of the vote counted and the LNP leading by 430 votes, surely it’s time for Antony to add this one to the LNP column. I was expecting that he would have done this by Friday.

  13. Tim Nicholls hasn’t conceded, but the LNP will be holding a meeting on their parliament leadership later in the week or earlier next week. One MP has already spoken out publicly suggesting Nicholls is unlikely to remain as LNP leader.

    Annastaisa Palaszczuk term will end in October 2020 which will be a three year fixed term, then terms will be fixed at four years terms after the next election.

  14. So what are we now expecting for the final count.

    Do I have it possibly correct at

    Labor 48
    Fibs 39
    Katter 3
    Greens 1
    Independent 1
    One Nation (two heads) 1

  15. Hinchinbrook and Townsville look like the two electorates in serious question.

    The Liberals just had a better batch of 485 absents in Townsville, and a small rather even batch of 75 postals, possibly putting them back in the lead by a small amount. This one seems to be going to the wire.

  16. The likely figures at this stage are:
    ALP 47 (which includes Macalister)
    LNP 39 (which includes Burdekin)
    KAP 2
    ONP 1
    IND (Noosa) 1

    In doubt 3
    Of the three in doubt, Maiwar (in the absence of some major error) will almost certainly go t0 The Greens. This really leaves only two in any significant doubt: Townsville (ALP vs LNP) & Hinchinbrook (LNP vs KAP). The last two are a bit hard to predict at this stage. Townsville has been moving all over the place. So the best final figures we’ve got at this stage are:

    ALP – 47-48 (depending upon Townsville)
    LNP – 39-41
    KAP – 2-3
    ONP – 1
    GRN – 1
    IND – 1

  17. @ Robert Ball am told Labor still up by 120 in Townsville after prefs. Labor scrutineers quietly confident. 6pm tomorrow is cut off for postals.

  18. I assume they had done a distribution of preferences, and the number of expected votes remaining cannot change the result. I agree that it is weird, given that it cannot be known how many votes are left – theoretically, the entirety of the electoral roll may have voted.

  19. William

    Looks as if the number outstanding postals could certainly b much less than the Greens,so that distribution is easy
    If there are less than 600 or so votes outstanding then also possible to distribute ON then fairly easy to do the rest

  20. Thanks Upnorth.
    Please keep us updated on latest trends in Townsville.
    Wife is from there and is very interested in the outcome
    Thanks again

  21. Dare To Tread

    I know nothing about the legal rules, but the mathematical rules might be even more clear.

    I assume your “less than 600 or so votes” is based on the fact that there are currently about 600 votes between Strelow and the ONP.

    But the ECQ can see the preferences too. The key question is whether the outstanding number of unknown votes (ie postals issued but not received back) is greater than the difference in votes at any preference distribution point. Not whether the number of outstanding votes is greater than the first preference difference of any two candidates.

    Let’s say there are 1000 postal votes issued but not yet returned… So, in theory, there are 1000 more potential valid votes that are, as yet, unknown. This structure could still result in an unpreventable win.

    The Green candidate comes last, even if all 1000 extra votes are for her. So you can safely distribute her preferences.

    Assuming this gives slightly more preferences to the Liberal than the ONP, though not terribly many to either, means that the current 1077 gap between LNP and ONP drops to only a gap of 1020 say (though the ECQ knows this exactly).

    At this point, even if all 1000 outstanding postals are for LNP, the LNP candidate is excluded… So you distribute her preferences.

    And so on and so forth.

    While the gap between Strelow and ONP is currently about 600 votes, it might be larger once the excluded candidates (LNP and GRN) have their preferences distributed.

    I reiterate I know nothing about the legality of such a procedure. In fact, given the link William posted has this on it “The full distribution of preferences cannot legally commence until after the 13th day following the by-election in order for all eligible postal votes to be included.” I tend to think it might not be legal.

    But it is mathematically indisputable.

  22. Does anyone know:

    1. Why the ABC results sometimes update prior to the ECQ website ? The update in Maiwar yesterday was on the ABC site a couple of hours before it was on the ECQ website.

    2. Are the ABC 2PP numbers real or estimates ?

  23. Mrodowicz
    Thanks. On this range of possible outcomes, Tim Nichols becoming premier is impossible.
    ALP – 47-48 (depending upon Townsville)
    LNP – 39-41
    KAP – 2-3
    ONP – 1
    GRN – 1
    IND – 1

    Hence he should concede defeat! Seriously, he is flushing a convention of our democracy down the drain, all because he is too arrogant to admit he ran a bad campaign. Voters were right to reject him.

  24. Is Hinchinbrook LNP vs ONP or LNP vs KAP or LNP vs LAB? It will be interesting to see how preferences from the Greens and IND get distributed and whether that could get Labor past Katter…

  25. Townsville – recount underway. About 400 votes left to count . Labor ahead by just over 100.

    Hinchinbrook may be interesting- Peter Raffles ex ALP member and prefs going to Labor plus Green. May push above KAP. Then KAP prefs will be distributed.

  26. Boris… I suspect only if the preferences from the independent flow evenly between Lab and Grn. Otherwise it really doesn’t matter what order they are before preferences… and in this case, all reports are the margin after distributing Ind prefs is 200+ votes and not worthy of a full recount.

  27. Socrates
    On this range of possible outcomes, Tim Nichols becoming premier is impossible.

    There is one possibility,
    ALP doesn’t win Townsville, 47 seats
    A labor mp jumps ship to PHON, 46 seats.
    Tim cobbles together the coalition of the damned

  28. Thanks Andrew
    I thought the margin was closer, around 50 votes, but did see posts that Diamonds preferences could blow it out higher

  29. I suspect Tim is refusing to concede for political point scoring optics in case labor do not get 47+ seats confirmed as he may see a concession as handing government to labor and releasing them from their pledge not to govern unless they won a majority.

  30. One of Robbie Katter’s staffers has been scrutineering the full Hinchinbrook count and reporting it on Twitter. The 2CP is between KAP and the LNP. All preferences have been distributed except for PHON; which will be distributed tomorrow and needs to break 54% in favour of KAP for them to win the seat.

  31. Townsville finalized. ALP Scrutineers say ALP margin just over 100 votes after prefs. Quietly confident no surprises and ALP will keep the seat.

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