Bennelong by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Bennelong by-election.

PRIMARY VOTE
TWO-PARTY PREFERRED
#
%
Swing
#
%
Proj.
Swing
Robinson (ALA)
623
0.9%
Folitarik (SPP)
827
1.1%
Jansson (FUT)
902
1.2%
Alexander (LIB)
31,901
44.1%
-5.9%
39,195
54.2%
54.1%
-5.6%
Keneally (ALP)
26,290
36.3%
+7.4%
33,172
45.8%
45.9%
+5.6%
Platter (APEP)
149
0.2%
Alick (GRN)
5,000
6.9%
-2.0%
Ziebell (AAHP)
622
0.9%
Fels (NCP)
116
0.2%
Richa (ACP)
3,251
4.5%
Cao (CDP)
2,299
3.2%
-3.5%
Golding (AUP)
386
0.5%
FORMAL
72,366
Booths reporting on primary vote (out of 41)
38
Booths reporting on two-party preferred (out of 41)
38
Formal votes counted as % of enrolment (106,582)
67.9%

Summary

All I have to add at this stage is the chart below, which seeks to give some insight into how well by-election swings have worked historically as pointers to the next election result – to which the answer is, not very well at all. Featured are all federal by-elections contested by both the Coalition and Labor back to the Whitlam government, with the by-election swing to the government (nearly always negative) recorded on the horizontal axis, and the subsequent election swing (usually negative as well) on the vertical. As such, all by-elections for a given parliamentary term have the same result on the vertical axis. I have also included a line recording the correlation between the two variables, but only for by-elections that were not held in the first nine months of the parliamentary term, which are usually a lot more favourable for the government. However, the predictive power of the underlying equation is very poor (the r-squared result is 0.0655), as it could hardly fail to be, given the government recorded a favourable swing of 7.4% in New England a fortnight ago.

Election night

9.38pm. I believe that’s it for this evening – counting of postals will not begin until tomorrow. I have three polling booths listed as outstanding, but I believe two of them were not in service.

8.41pm. The big West Ryde pre-poll voting centre is in, and its impact is modest, although the Labor swing has at least nudged above 5% now.

8.15pm. And now some other booth has taken it away again.

8.12pm. A booth I suspect to be Gladesville North has ratcheted up the swing to Labor by a bit over half a point.

8.08pm. In my search for something interesting observe, I would note that large additions to the count should occur late in the evening with the pre-poll voting. These might have the effect of nudging the swing a few per cent, in one direction or another. For the time being though, the swing has been stable for some time at a bit under 5%.

7.54pm. Swing steadying at around 5%.

7.51pm. With half the booths in on the primary vote, I’m now projecting a slightly bigger Labor swing of 5.0%.

7.48pm. Not seeing much of a pattern to the swings: double-digit swings to Labor in three booths, Carlingford, Marsfield and Middle Ryde, which aren’t in any particular proximity. Weak results for Labor in Eastwood West, Gladesville and Truscott.

7.39pm. Eleven booths now in on two-party, still only 17 on primary.

7.36pm. Two more two-party results in, and the swing remains settled at 4-5%. Unlike the ABC, I’m projecting two-party totals in the seven booths that have only reported on the primary vote, but it’s not making much difference.

7.34pm. An eight two-party result, and same again: swing now up to 4.5%.

7.32pm. A seventh two-party result is better for Labor, so the swing projection is now up to 3.5%.

7.31pm. A couple more booths on the primary vote, and the Liberals position has strengthened still further, to the extent I’m now projecting essentially no swing at all.

7.30pm. A fairly striking improvement for the Liberals on preference flows. My early prognostications were based on noting the similar primary vote swings, but it turns out 6% movements on the primary are only translating into 2% on two-party.

7.28pm. Twelve on the primary vote, six on two-party, and still looking a disappointing result for Labor. It may be worth noting Tony Burke’s point that Labor is doing better in Chinese areas, including a double-digit swing in Carlingford, and that these tend to be larger booths that will report later.

7.26pm. Tony Burke more or less conceding on the ABC.

7.25pm. Okay, I’ve now got those two-party numbers and I’m seeing what Antony’s seeing — hardly any swing at all.

7.23pm. Antony Green has five results from two-party preferred, whereas I’m only seeing one – so definitely take my projection with a grain of salt so long as it says there’s only one two-party result in the count.

7.19pm. Eight booths in on the primary vote, and Ryde reporting on two-party preferred. By projecting Ryde’s preferences across the booths with primary votes only, I’m projecting Labor with a pretty handy swing. However, this is projecting a lot from a little – I would want more than one small two-party result before I read anything into it.

7.11pm. The AEC is projecting a swing to Labor of 4.7%, which I presume is based off a single booths two-party total that I’m not seeing published anywhere.

7.10pm. Eastwood West slightly reduces Labor swing, but still no two-party numbers.

7.08pm. Carlingord has now reporting, along with Macquarie Park, and it has indeed boosted the swing to nearly 8%, albeit that this would still leave Labor a little short.

7.06pm. Tony Burke talking up Labor’s performance in Carlingford, saying it points to a big swing to Labor in Chinese communities.

7.03pm. The larger Truscott booth is a much better result for the Liberals, suggesting a swing more like 5%.

7.01pm. Primary vote numbers in from Marsfield and Ryde, both consistent with a swing of about 9% to Labor, suggesting a very close result.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Bennelong by-election. This being an urban electorate, we shouldn’t expect any serious numbers for about an hour or so. I will hopefully be offering my own prognosis of the situation in the table above, but it’s all a bit experimental and we’ll have to wait to see if it works.

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.

488 comments on “Bennelong by-election live”

  1. OK. I can respect that you say you are independent of party politics, ESJ, and that you dislike corruption.
    I don’t agree that Labor is the most corrupt part.
    NSW ICAC showed the Libs have a lot of corrupt members still in politics.
    Given that, why don’t you criticise them?

  2. ESJ is a stirrer (an old fashioned word for troll), surely that much is obvious.

    ESJ has the benefit of not being an idiot, and of having interesting insights at times.

    But make no mistake, ESJ is only interested in causing grief and getting a reaction out of ALP supporters.

    Having said that, it is important that the ALP never forgets the catastrophe of letting Obeid, Tripodi, Macdonald run riot.

    As to this result in Bennelong – disappointing for everyone I imagine, but I doubt there will be any impact on either Turnbull or Shorten’s positions. This isn’t a triumph or a disaster for either. And if the Libs really did blow a cool $1 million defending Bennelong I’d call that a strategic win for Labor.

  3. To assert “telling it as I see it” has anything to do with “truth-telling” is to confuse opinions (which are entirely subjective) for facts.

  4. Turnbull should draw no comfort from the result in Bennelong.
    They went in hard, and the incumbent had the inside running.
    The swing is genuine.
    It’s not some ‘one-off’.
    Replicated across the country the LNP will be out on their arses, with a rump of entrenched, hardcore no-hopers left in HoR.

  5. Jackol

    “And if the Libs really did blow a cool $1 million defending Bennelong I’d call that a strategic win for Labor.”

    Labor are going to have to spend at least that defending Batman. Libs not a cent if they refuse to run.

  6. “Labor can be comforted with the big increase in their primary vote (currently +7.6% on ABC). But the 2PP is only an okay result for them. Respectable enough, but not great either.”

    Libs will be REALLY unhappy any bleed of their primary vote to the RWNJobbies. With it goes funding from the electoral commission even if they get the preferences.

  7. NSW ICAC showed the Libs have a lot of corrupt members still in politics.

    Err … it also shows that the Coalition went to the 2011 election on a public platform of anti-corruption, while privately its MPs and candidates were corrupting the state’s party-donation laws.

    Making deals with the mafia for immigration protection.

    Trousing brown paper bags full of cash passed around in the back seat of Bentleys

    A tory Premier giving faulting evidence to ICAC and having to resign.

    The NSW tories effectively removing the ICAC Commisioners , re-writing the ICAC report on corruption, then defunding it to reduce any effectiveness.

    Corrupt tories in action….

  8. “I trust KK is not drafted to the vacant Senate position.
    She deserves a reasonably safe seat.
    The Senate is full of party hacks from both parties who sit on their backsides listening to their arteries harden, contributing little.
    KK has a lot to offer, and is too talented to be wasted in the ‘unrepresentative swill’ that is the Senate.”

    She ‘deserves’ a safe seat? If everybody had that attitude in the Labor party their would be a lot of contested marginals with a lot of average candidates. I’m sure some felt David Feeney deserved a safe seat in Batman and that hasn’t panned out too well.

    Keneally did the best she could but the necessity to get her into the House of Reps isn’t likely going to be too urgent. There is no contention that she could be future Labor federal leader. There is just too much baggage for the Liberals to play with in terms of her association with NSW state Labor’s black period whether it’s fairly or not is not the point.

    If she secures the numbers for a Senate seat she should take it. There has been a lot of hope put in the past parachuting celebrity candidates, frontbench talent, and future leaders into safe seats in the Labor party and frankly I don’t think the outcomes have been worth the effort (Peter Garrett, Greg Combat, David Feeney, etc).

  9. LNP didn’t really promote any policies either, they just promoted a rich famous face, and use their desperate lame personal attacks.

    Of course, they also had Murdoch help, which himself got richer, by selling part of his business to Disney.

  10. The loss in Bennelong is nothing compared to the loss that is coming to the Turnbull Coalition in the looming Federal election. The LNP die hards are laughing because they still haven’t heard the news. He who laughs last ha ha…….

  11. Labor are going to have to spend at least that defending Batman. Libs not a cent if they refuse to run.

    It depends on whether Labor are going to be idiots about Batman or not.

    If they aren’t idiots they will (1) dump Feeney toute de suite, and (2) put in resources only in proportion to how actually critical it is that they hold Batman rather than it falling to the Greens.

    Yes it will sting. No, the ALP shouldn’t just give up on Batman, but neither should they die in a ditch to keep it in the tent – spend a reasonable amount, put up a good relevant candidate that appeals to that specific electorate, fight for it but not unreasonably so. If the Greens win it, so be it; don’t give up on it, but don’t get all rabidly butt hurt about it either. It’s not the end of the world, and the ALP need to fight well, fight cleverly, elsewhere.

  12. Libs have no policies to promote as Thistlewaite was saying.Just political internal crap that doesnt affect the ordinary punters lives one way or the other.

  13. Def disappointing result for the ALP. NSW is where the anti-coalition swing is weakest of all, and the bullwark against a 2013/1996 style electoral whacking on current polling. Shorten needs to find more traction here. ALP seats pretty much maxed in Vic, SA and Tas… the big bag currently projected coming out of Qld and WA. Not sure i trust the long-term sustainability of that.

    Tonight’s result feels consistent with bludgertrack nsw polling (allowing for a byelection bump), Shorten needs to crack nsw open more to feel comfortable.

    I enjoy this site and have done for over 10yrs but theres a lot of crowing over how Turnbull is finished and this govt inextricably locked in for defeat. A Bass-like seat losing swing tonight would have furthered that meme. Didn’t happen and we are not there (yet) by a long shot.

  14. “Corrupt tories in action….”
    Dave – exactly.
    And lets not forget how they launder their donations so they don’t appear to be breaking donations laws.
    Pity the AEC rumbled them and refused to give them money until they confessed and fixed their statements.

    They are easily the most corrupt bunch we have seen in a long time.

    What do you think, ESJ?
    You said you are against corruption. Prove it.

  15. Mining Magnets like Clive, Gina, and others, and then we have the guy who invested in a technology that is no where to be seen ‘rainmaker’, and then the start of “Clean Coal” under Abbott, now Turnbull.

    The biggest corruption is all there to see.

  16. hate to say it but keneally puts shorten to shame whenever they appeared in same shot – she is fluent, thinks on feet, rhetorically alert and interesting, and with believable conviction – bill is bill, the leader we just had to have

  17. I assume this is the current Federal politics Thread?

    geoffry, I missed the concession speeches, but I saw KK and Bill do a presser together during the week and I thought he looked more comfortable and fluent than her.

    ABC has a reasonable piece (at the moment), but the cover photo of Turnbull would not be my choice. I hope they don’t change it. JA looks a little embarrassed.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-16/liberal-john-alexander-to-win-bennelong-by-election-antony-green/9265316

    The SMH has the headline ‘Turnbull’s Renaissance’… which most of PB correctly predicted. The article itself may be more measured but the heading put me off. He’s had more of these than Michelangelo had sculptures and paintings.

    Now I’m just thinking what fun the MSM will have with bloody Feeney.

  18. @Expat follower

    I think the result of the next election depends on whether the hard right both within the coalition and beyond would rather be in government with Turnbull or in opposition with one of their own as leader .

    Labor are not polling that well given Turnbull has been fighting a war on two fronts for a year now, and has not been getting the kind of support from the right wing media a Liberal leader normally gets.

    If things settle down on his right flank (a big if ) the polls will start to tighten up as we move closer to the business end of the electoral cycle and disengaged floating voters who ultimately decide who wins start tuning in.

  19. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Katharine Murphy says that Turnbull savours Bennelong moment, but there’s little room for hubris.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/16/malcolm-turnbull-bennelong-moment-little-room-hubris
    Is the big story from Bennelong the drop in the Greens vote?
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bennelong-byelection-john-alexander-wins-battle-against-kristina-keneally-20171216-h05utt.html
    The Vatican has released a statement saying that the final report from the child abuse royal commission “deserves to be studied seriously.” Doesn’t sound too supportive to me.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/pope-says-royal-commission-recommendations-deserve-to-be-studied-seriously-20171216-h05t2o.html
    Paul Bongiorno writes about the political missteps over China.
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2017/12/16/political-missteps-over-china/15133428005635
    Jess Irvine looks back at the year that was.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/a-year-of-courage-and-raw-storytelling-draws-to-a-close–and-well-be-the-better-for-it-20171215-h05m9i.html
    Jonathan Freedland writes that while we’re looking the other way, Trump is changing America for decades to come.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/15/trump-changing-america-president-tweets-russia
    Adele Ferguson bemoans the paucity of penalty for white collar crime.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/where-whitecollar-crime-meets-a-wet-lettuce-leaf-20171215-h05c0h.html
    Jay Weatherill says the spectre of a royal commission into River Murray water theft is already forcing changes. Google.
    news/south-australia/premier-jay-weatherill-says-the-spectre-of-a-royal-commission-into-river-murray-water-theft-is-already-forcing-changes/news-story/25ee48a8fcc8f9ec3290be5a60505707
    The Saturday Paper has an excellent editorial on the Royal Commission.
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2017/12/16/church-fate/15133428005637
    Decentralising the public service is a costly and ineffective way to grow regional wealth that risks damaging the performance of government agencies, the Productivity Commission has warned.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/costly-ineffective-productivity-commission-report-rubbishes-decentralisation-20171214-h053aq.html
    In a good article on the buying of political influence Michael Pascoe takes aim at a couple of our favourites – Gina Rhinehart and Rupert Murdoch.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/the-business-of-buying-influence-20171215-p4yxrg.html
    Ross Gittins gives us a lot of food for thought in this article on the theory of competition.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/how-big-business-shares-the-profit-pie-20171215-h0558m.html
    Austria has become the only western European state with a far-right presence in government after its president approved a controversial coalition deal.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/16/austrian-president-approves-far-right-freedom-party-role-in-coalition-government
    Announcing strident critic of charities Gary Johns to head the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission betrays a questionable selection process and a campaign to nobble the sector.
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/12/16/the-gary-johns-appointment/15133428005650
    Half of all race-related opinion pieces in the Australian mainstream media are likely to contravene industry codes of conduct on racism. And surprise, surprise! The study found that negative race-related reports were most commonly published in News Corp publications.
    https://theconversation.com/racist-reporting-still-rife-in-australian-media-88957
    Nicole Hasham says that according to Frydenberg the controversial Abbott-era fund that uses public money to pay companies to reduce their pollution will survive the federal government’s review of Australia’s climate policies.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/controversial-abbottera-climate-fund-will-survive-climate-review-josh-frydenberg-20171214-h04pnq.html
    In quite a long article Ruth Williams asks the question, “Are Australia’s business Lonny groups past their peak?”
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/are-australias-business-lobby-groups-past-their-peak-20171213-h04aut.html
    Karen Middleton reveals that as Adani draws public ire over its Abbot Point rail line, Gina Rinehart awaits the benefits of another NAIF deal to open up the Galilee.
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/resources/2017/12/16/gina-rinehart-and-the-galilee/15133428005647
    Are we headed for a big stoush on Melbourne’s waterfront and beyond?
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/war-on-the-wharves-20171214-p4yxqi.html
    Peter FitzSimons’ last column for the year.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/a-rose-by-any-other-name–twitter-stoushes-stadium-madness-and-a-great-australian-story-20171215-h05jud.html
    Amanda Hooton gives justified praise to Dean Smith, Mr Invisible,
    http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/samesex-marriages-unlikely-hero-liberal-dean-smith-the-invisible-man-20171205-gzyuvd.html
    Can the concept of behavioural economics be extended to the prevention of war?
    http://www.theage.com.au/world/give-them-a-nudge-avert-a-war-behavioural-economics-comes-of-age-20171204-gzyrtl.html
    The SMH editorial gives water safety a plug.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/time-to-confront-a-summer-curse-20171216-h05xah.html
    Bridget McKenzie charged taxpayers thousands of dollars to attend an awards night for shooting in Sydney, claiming the trip as “electorate business” even though she was a Victorian backbencher. Some of these people have no shame!
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/nationals-deputy-bridget-mckenzie-charged-taxpayers-to-attend-shooting-awards-20171216-h05vqh.html

    Cartoon Corner

    A Christmas wish courtesy of Reg Lynch.

    Matt Golding outside Parliament House.

    And Golding on Bennelong celebrations.

    Glen Le Lievre on the likely response to the CA Royal Commission from certain bodies.
    https://twitter.com/search?q=Glen%20Le%20Lievre&src=tyah
    Mark Knight with Peter McClellan’s final flourish.

    Sean Leahy also has a dip at the findings of the Royal Commission.

    And he sums up the way the Royal Commission has done some emotional good for the victims.

    I sincerely hope David Pope is wrong about this.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/david-pope-20120214-1t3j0
    One of Alan Moir’s best.

    Moir’s view of Turnbull’s 2017.

    Jon Kudelka inside the CBA money laundry.

    And it’s goodbye to David Rowe until the new year.

  20. Thanks BK.
    Minister for doing F-All to protect our environment, Frydenberg, is trying to create a new religion to do the hard work.
    When asked if he was personally concerned about the effects of climate change on future generations he said: “I have enormous faith in technology…….to get us where we want to be.”

    So there is our answer, direct from Josh. The Technology Religion will save us. He (and his government) will do nothing.
    All together now, let’s pray, for we are truly fucked.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/controversial-abbottera-climate-fund-will-survive-climate-review-josh-frydenberg-20171214-h04pnq.html

  21. Kenneallys PV upticked 7% and the PV just over 5%. While not the devastating blow my lust for political blood craved it’s enough to satiate me.

    As a few here have wisely noted, the battle ain’t over and Turnbull is far from finished. This race remains a marathon and as the past has shown, Shorten is good in the long haul.

    Whether Turnbull can fashion something out of this to get back in front in the polls is yet to be seen.

    I doubt he will, given his track record.

    Bennelong is blue ribbon moneyed up conservative territory. If the Liberals think this is some kind of renaissance for their man, they should take pause and reflect a little more.

  22. Maude Lynne @ #478 Sunday, December 17th, 2017 – 7:46 am

    Thanks BK.
    Minister for doing F-All to protect our environment, Frydenberg, is trying to create a new religion to do the hard work.
    When asked if he was personally concerned about the effects of climate change on future generations he said: “I have enormous faith in technology…….to get us where we want to be.”

    So there is our answer, direct from Josh. The Technology Religion will save us. He (and his government) will do nothing.
    All together now, let’s pray, for we are truly fucked.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/controversial-abbottera-climate-fund-will-survive-climate-review-josh-frydenberg-20171214-h04pnq.html

    This is a surprisingly common attitude. Yes, global warming is real, but we don’t actually need to do anything about it, except perhaps throw a little more money at the polluters.

    God/Technology/The Market will save us!

  23. Politcal night watchman @ #463 Saturday, December 16th, 2017 – 11:20 pm

    “I trust KK is not drafted to the vacant Senate position.
    She deserves a reasonably safe seat.
    The Senate is full of party hacks from both parties who sit on their backsides listening to their arteries harden, contributing little.
    KK has a lot to offer, and is too talented to be wasted in the ‘unrepresentative swill’ that is the Senate.”

    She ‘deserves’ a safe seat? If everybody had that attitude in the Labor party their would be a lot of contested marginals with a lot of average candidates. I’m sure some felt David Feeney deserved a safe seat in Batman and that hasn’t panned out too well.

    Keneally did the best she could but the necessity to get her into the House of Reps isn’t likely going to be too urgent. There is no contention that she could be future Labor federal leader. There is just too much baggage for the Liberals to play with in terms of her association with NSW state Labor’s black period whether it’s fairly or not is not the point.

    If she secures the numbers for a Senate seat she should take it. There has been a lot of hope put in the past parachuting celebrity candidates, frontbench talent, and future leaders into safe seats in the Labor party and frankly I don’t think the outcomes have been worth the effort (Peter Garrett, Greg Combat, David Feeney, etc).

    No-one in the Labor Party ‘deserves’ pre-selection for a safe seat or any seat for that matter.
    They have to earn it.
    So if KK want’s to be pre-selected to a safe seat, then she has to identify the seat to target and then win the support of the ALP members in that electorate.
    She has plenty of credit in the bank so should be well on the way to pre-selection to a winnable seat.

  24. Morning all

    Will be interesting to see what KKeneally does now. Does she go back to her gig on Sky News, or If offered, take the soon to be vacant senate seat

  25. Jackol @ #466 Saturday, December 16th, 2017 – 11:23 pm

    Labor are going to have to spend at least that defending Batman. Libs not a cent if they refuse to run.

    It depends on whether Labor are going to be idiots about Batman or not.

    If they aren’t idiots they will (1) dump Feeney toute de suite, and (2) put in resources only in proportion to how actually critical it is that they hold Batman rather than it falling to the Greens.

    Yes it will sting. No, the ALP shouldn’t just give up on Batman, but neither should they die in a ditch to keep it in the tent – spend a reasonable amount, put up a good relevant candidate that appeals to that specific electorate, fight for it but not unreasonably so. If the Greens win it, so be it; don’t give up on it, but don’t get all rabidly butt hurt about it either. It’s not the end of the world, and the ALP need to fight well, fight cleverly, elsewhere.

    Pretty on the mark there Jackol.
    But Labor can run a relatively cheap campaign but using its people on the ground. Phone banking is cheap, door-knocking is cheap, letter-boxing is cheap, volunteers at railway stations and shopping centres are cheap. I know, I have done plenty and it cost the ALP nothing beyond the price of the brochures I had.
    I cannot believe just how inept Feeney has proven to be. As a State Secretary he ran a good campaign. As a Senator and MHR I have only ever been aware of him when something goes wrong.
    If he is the candidate, it may be hard to get the volunteers out.
    Feeney should retire gracefully to obscurity.

  26. Zoidlord says:
    “EDJ is paid shrill for LNP.”

    And you are a one-eyed ALP supporter, but no-one is accusing you of being “paid”. Why isn’t EDJ just as entitled to their opinion as you, without the insinuation that there is something dirty behind it?

  27. The Bennelong result doesn’t really give us many pointers to the next federal election. It’s already bleedingly obvious that the LNP has a hercuelean task ahead of it to retain government – both electoral history and electoral mathematics are stacked against them. Inasmuch as this result tells us anything though, it’s that the governments position may not be completely irretrievable. If they hang in and don’t self destruct, with a bit of good fortune coming their way, it indicates there is just a possibility we could witness a rerun of 2004.

    The ALP should have achieved an 8-10% swing in the circumstances. A government that changes leaders, then just scraped in at the subsequent election and has a leader with Turnbull’s netstat, should be swinging in the breeze, just waiting to be cut loose. That they didn’t exposes the flaws in Shorten’s leadership and judgement.

    The ALP needed just needed an everyday candidate that could say, “Hi I’m a hardwoking member of the local community, I feel your frustrations etc, but hey, don’t focus on me, take the opportunity to send a message to the government”.

    But no, what do they do? Dredge up a fly-in candidate from the other side of the city whose husband was the mayor of Botany until just last year. Not only that, but she was associated and intimately connected with one of the most ugly periods in NSW political history and led the ALP to its worst defeat in history. Just as NSW Labour was tentatively showing signs of green shoots, they bring in a high profile candidate to remind everyone of the history-and in an electorate that showed one of the highest swings in the state in 2011.

    Aside from that, there is the the issue of the governments precarious majority. By ratcheting up the importance of the result with a high-profile candidate, they forced people to think more carefully about their vote. More carefully about lodging a normal by-election protest vote.

    The good thing about this, is that it may give the ALP pause to reconsider the choice they will be offering. Not that they will. Recent Australian prime ministers, have not been high-quality, but this unprincipled, pole-climbing opportunist would be in a class all of his own. He offers the fakery of Kevin Rudd but not the charm, the political nous of Julia Gillard minus the basic decency.

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