Batman by-election live

Super Saturday, phase one: live coverage of the count for the Batman by-election.

10.17pm. Thornbury pre-poll also swings slightly to Labor.

10.00pm. The Bundoora pre-poll voting centre has reported, and it produced a result typical for the electorate in swinging slightly to Labor. We will presumably get a further three pre-poll voting centres this evening, and presumably also a batch of postals.

8.36pm. Only pre-poll voting centres now outstanding, on the primary vote at least.

8.27pm. Labor’s small but seemingly decisive lead is holding more or less firm, now at 2.9% on my projection. Most of what remains is the large pre-poll voting centres.

8.17pm. The tide keeps flowing to Labor, with my model (3.4%) now more bullish for them than the ABC’s (1.9%).

8.13pm. Not sure where exactly, but a very good result has come in for Labor, pushing their lead out to a near-insurmountable 2.9% on my projected measure, which now differs only slightly from the raw result of 3.2%.

8.08pm. Most of the polling day booths are in now, and I’ve got Labor’s lead firming very slightly. If the Greens have a hope, it’s that a different dynamic will play out in the pre-poll voting centres.

8.01pm. As the count slowly creeps up, Labor retains its lead of around 1.5%. The Greens will want a couple of good results to come through pretty soon.

7.56pm. With around half the booths now in, the distinction between my model and the ABC’s has all but disappeared: Labor holding in both cases with a 1.5% margin.

7.54pm. Now I’ve got Labor’s lead out to 1.4%, which is a handy place to be with 40% of the vote counted, but not yet bolted down.

7.45pm. Yet another change of lead on my projection, but I’ve got the lead at 0.9% compared to the ABC’s 1.5%. ABC still staying Labor retain, I’m still saying too early to call.

7.42pm. The ABC computer is calling it for Labor, but it’s making no effort as I am to project preference flows on to seats where only the primary vote has reported, which is around half of them.

7.38pm. My hope that this might be sorted early on and I could devote my energies to South Australia is not being realised: once again my projected lead has changed hands, in large part because Labor’s preference share has now declined to 65%.

7.35pm. Now with over a quarter of the vote counted, Labor leads on the raw vote, but I’m projecting that to come back a little. Very close, in a nutshell, but Labor slightly favoured.

7.31pm. And now I’ve got the Greens with their nose in front. There are six booths in on two-party, none of which have swung much, but big swings to Labor in some of the booths in which we only have two-party numbers. The preference flow from the latter is being projected on to the former, and I’ve got Labor getting 69.4% of them.

7.25pm. Now with more substantial numbers in, it’s looking very tight – absolutely no swing at all on my two-party projection, with 12 counted in primary and five on two-party.

7.19pm. Some better results for the Greens send the pendulum back their way. My preference model is now going entirely off results from this election, and Labor is receiving 71.9% of them — 337 to 132 to be precise, going off the three booths that are in on two-party.

7.17pm. Labor have had some thumpingly good results in Alphington North and Collingwood, such that the ABC is projecting a 6% swing in their favour, and I’m projecting 7%.

7.11pm. Been sorting through a lot of technical problems with my live reporting, and I think I’m past the worst of them. So we’ve got three booths in on the primary vote and two in on two-party preferred, and my assessment is that it’s looking tight but with the Greens with their nose in front. For the time being though, this is largely based on a preference flow derived from the Northcote state election result, and the very early indications are that they might do better than that.

7pm. A very small polling booth called Murray, with 249 votes cast, has the Greens up 8.5% on the primary vote and Labor steady.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Batman by-election. This being an inner-city seat with large booths, it should take a while for us to start seeing numbers – perhaps as long as an hour. Wish me luck with my live results reporting facility.

Click here for more detailed (and better formatted) results.

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.

482 comments on “Batman by-election live”

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  1. Rocket Rocket @ #450 Sunday, March 18th, 2018 – 12:49 am

    Di Natale begging Liberal voters to stand with the Greens to stop Labor getting rid of a loophole in the tax system will rightly follow him and his Party all the way till Federal Election day. You would almost think Shorten had planned this to wedge the Greens.

    greens treachery in action yet again. Still.


  2. Why are greens’s supporters still so angry?

    They are losers.

    After 35 years they still haven’t achieved anything.

    Di Natale is probably the most ineffective leader the Greens have had.

    The Party is torn by internal strife.

    Indiscipline has become both endemic and public with open rebellions in NSW and Vic.

    The polling is flatlining at best and is declining at Federal levels and most states and territories.

    The Greens have lost more reps than they have gained under Di Natale.

    Di Natale’s policy credibility is in tatters following the total failure of the Massive National Campaign to Change a Date.

    Di Natale has lost several senators because he runs a Party with inadequate internal processes.

    On top of that he is building a million dollar plus mansion in a leafy inner suburb by way of demonstrating his commitment to eradicating poverty…

    But worst of all, under Di Natale, half the Reef died, wages are going backwards and access to public health, education, housing and transport are all under threat.

    Di Natale is a panto politician: all show and no go.


    They should have won Batman in a canter and they know it.


  3. Presumably it’s now time to throw Bhathal in jail and build a great wall to keep the Northcote residents out? 🙂

  4. If the greens cannot win a seat like Batman what the fck seats will they ever win ?

    Dud candidates, dud leadership, dud support of tory policy,


  5. itsthevibe @ #455 Sunday, March 18th, 2018 – 1:12 am

    Presumably it’s now time to throw Bhathal in jail and build a great wall to keep the Northcote residents out? 🙂

    Nah – Please put her up again,

    Is it 4th or 5th time?

    Keep her for next time,

    Whatever you do – please, PLEASE retain the Black Wiggle.

    His lack of judgement helps Labor SO much.

    Thank you.

  6. As a former Democrat in Reservoir, my observations …

    1. I chose to assist Ged Kearney because she’s an experienced and impressive person who spoke with heart on issues that most concern me; overseas aid/ peace, health/ aged care, public transport and infrastructure, living standards and equality.

    2. At all times during the campaign both Ged and Alex were gracious and positive. I doubt that the internal bullying allegations were decisive. People didn’t mention it to me in the days before the election.

    3. Many voters have had positive personal interactions with Ged. One Liberal-voting cleaner told me that as ACTU President Ged replied to her personally. She voted for Ged in gratitude.

    4. I think many like myself supported Ged to demostrate to ALP powerbrokers that voters care who they preselect. (I think this also applies in Melbourne Ports with Danby).

    5. The Greens’ push here has been a bit overestimated. The swing to the Greens in Northcote was largely about the candidate – an Aboriginal woman. The huge 2016 swing reflected the shocking ALP candidate.

    6. The ALP tax policy announcement probably helped Labor on balance as it demonstrated to voters in deep green areas a more left agenda. Older conservatives had no option with their preferences.

    7. I don’t see this election as a disaster for the Greens Leadership. Di Natali is the best available. Their polling in Victoria where he’s best known is strong.

    8. The Labor campaign could have been more effective. Helpers had no idea about booths, campaign meetings were demoralising, the major ALP community forum was sabotaged by a disgruntled ethnic group. Some angry voters were phoned so often they refused to vote. Core volunteers didn’t get rostered on. One ALP member was sent to a house to encourage a voter. But he’d been given the list of ALP party members by mistake.

    9. A minor point perhaps but endless bunting on booths is counter-productive especially when Greens use plastic-lookalike signage.

  7. If you assume labor had access to polling data and focus group outcomes then announcing putting an end to the franking credit rort before the result makes sense. We now might get a few jounalists go away and try and understand why those with some knowledge are saying it must be done. Less troll activity; perhaps not, though the green troll from menzie house seems quite. Rex where are you?

    Politically could it have it been done any better? Labor now has a new member and another tax policy bedded down.

    The green sopporting the liberal miss information campaign must be a bonus. The labor team could not have seen that coming, surely.

  8. 1. Choose candidates who represent your values and can articulate them, rather than ones who appear to be trying to impersonate a candidate from the other party.

    2. Don’t treat voters as if they’re stupid. Simplistic slogans won’t cut it. Giving them meaty ideas to chew over gives them a feeling of ownership – and they’ll argue the case for you.

    This is (probably) becoming more true with the distrust of Old Media. “The Age’ (or “The Australian” or “Sunrise” — take your pick) telling you that this policy idea is good or bad is only the starting point. The voter knows they can’t be trusted, and is more inclined to do the legwork to arrive at their own position.

    As I said above, that means the voter identifies with the result – it’s theirs, they know why and how they arrived at that conclusion. If the subject comes up, they’ll have facts and arguments at their fingertips and be ready to go.

    It’s a risky strategy – the voter might end up on the other side, after all – which is why the party concerned needs to make sure they’ve done the hard yards to begin with.

    The more times, however, a voter goes through this process and ends up ‘on side’, the more solidly that voter will identify with that party and its positions.

  9. Excellent feedback Paul. It might be worthwhile giving some of that “on the ground” feedback to GED Kearney’s office.

  10. Let me know if the Insiders crew accepts that the media got it totally wrong all week on dividend imputation.

  11. Thanks Paul Kavanagh and zoomster.

    It all helps – in the 2014 Victorian State election I know that the Liberal election strategists were blown out of the water by Labor’s “ground game” and the same happened at the 2016 Federal election. That night they truly could not believe that Turnbull was on the cusp of losing government (which was reflected in Malcolm’s surly midnight speech! He had been told he was cruising to an easy win!).

    Whenever I explain the change to the dividend imputation system to anyone, they see why it is both logical and fairer. If Labor win the next Federal Election and make this change, I wonder if the Liberals (and now also the Greens) will vow to reinstate this tax loophole?

    It is just fantastic how Labor is shifting the goalposts on reclaiming lost tax revenue through examples such as this and the negative gearing/capital gains tax changes.

  12. The Greens are nothing but bicycle riding liberals.
    Getting together with the libtards to reduce part pensions.
    Getting together with the libtards to reduce school funding.
    Seriously if the greens ever had any purpose it is long time gone.

  13. “Thanks Paul Kavanagh and zoomster.”

    Anything that refines the ground campaign useful to know and there is a point where the intenisty can go over the top. May not be as much of an issue in a general election where resources are spread around more.

  14. What a great night for Labor supporters.

    Three comments:

    1. A big thank you to William for another magnificent performance. I don’t know how he does it. Let’s keep pitching in financially as much as we can folks.

    2. As others have already said, great to hear that RU is fighting on and still tuning in. He was one of the first posters I remember being here when I first arrived back in late 2006.

    3. I can’t wait to catch Rex’s message of congratulations to Bill Shorten for his adept timing in announcing his tax policy just in time for the by-election. I’m sure Rex would have been impressed by that.

  15. While we are slagging off the greens this morning let’s at least acknowledge the generous comments made by Alex Bhathal about Ged in her concession speech. She said it is good that a progressive woman of Ged’s quality is going to Canberra to represent Batman. Very well spoken I thought.

  16. 4. I think many like myself supported Ged to demostrate to ALP powerbrokers that voters care who they preselect. (I think this also applies in Melbourne Ports with Danby).

    This is certainly a take away. Labor does need to very carefully ensure a good match between candidate and electorate. The days of simplisticly assigning seats to either faction are fading fast.

  17. Obviously a crummy result for the Greens, and they need to take a good hard look at what went wrong. That said, if they can do so, I would still rate them a fair chance to pick up Batman (likely renamed) at the next election. They’d also still be favourites in Brunswick and Richmond later this year, especially since Kearney is no longer available as a candidate (although obviously after this they won’t be taking them for granted). So a bad night for the Greens, but not the end of the world.

    As usual, there is a good deal of perceptive commentary here on PB, and as usual, it’s easy to miss it amongst the ALP/Greens nonsense. A little grace in victory is never the worst thing. (I am referring to a very small number of posters here – there’s a difference between “Ha! My side won, and that’s great, and shows flaws in the other party!” and actively rubbing other posters’ faces in it. 48% of people still backed the Greens here. Do you want them back or not?)

  18. “Another thing to keep in mind is Feeney was rubbish and should never have been in the seat. So the ALP Right conceded that the ALP Left would be better to stand in the by-election. But this might cause pain within the Labor party as it is Right controlled branches in the area and they would prefer not to normally give any ground to the Left. So except a bit of backroom bitching to go on….”

    I think this comment can be misleading. The ALP has factions but factions do acknowledge when their own candidates have let the party down and give ground. In Queensland state Labor preselections in 2015 the right wanted Michael Healy for the state seat of Cairns, but the Left wanted Rob Pyne. Pyne won the pre-selection and then turned on the party quitting the party and becoming an Independent. The Left so furious with Pyne’s treachery acknowledge they made a mistake and supported the Rights Michael Healy who won the seat back for the party at the next election.

    I think this likely the same scenario with David Feeney. The right conceded that choosing Feeney was a mistake and the two scenarios they had was give up the seat to the Greens or get behind Ged Kearney of the Left. Branch members will generally support candidates despite what factions they are in, and you can bet that hardheads in the party won’t let any destabilisation on Kearney’s candidacy after she dug the party out of a hole. To do that is at the party’s peril…………..

  19. Darn:

    Agreed. I can’t say I was impressed at all with the campaign Bhathal ran, but it was a very gracious concession speech.

  20. The Batman result went the way I expected and predicted here a week ago. I’d have liked to see Alex Bhathal get up, but if the ALP has to field candidates like Ged Kearney to hold off the Greens then it is a good thing. The old progressive labor left who defected to the greens seem to now have more influence on the party than they did when they were in it. The Greens who white-anted Alex may even have done us a favour (even though she would have been excellent, Ged will progressively influence the ALP), but I hope their candidate Trent McCarthy is forever banned from trying to win preselection – even if he was not directly involved, this bastardry should not be rewarded.

    The Green’s cynicism in not backing Labor’s excellent policy of closing Howard-Costello tax loopholes deliberately created for the well-off has me reconsidering my Greens membership. A few more MP’s like Kearney, Plibersek, Albo, Chesters, etc. and I might come back to the fold.

    Note the swing in both Batman and SA to labor – the pundits in the right-wing media who were about to hang shorten out to dry because of his ‘class war’ will be scrambling to dream up the next steaming pile of bullshit.

    & Mal’s got 2 more weeks to #30 and a challenge from Dutton. I expect the media to focus on this now, resulting in the challenge before the end of April. Blood is in the water and the frenzy will start now.

  21. Sustainable future:

    Yep, I basically agree with all of that.

    The furor surrounding Bhathal’s candidacy worries me. No idea about the truth one way or the other rehsrding the bullying allegations, but I do actually agree with some of the criticisms that have been raised by party insiders about her campaign (the “whatever it takes” description being particularly apt.)

    However, the conduct of Bhathal’s opponents seems beyond the pale to me, and completely undermines what legitimate grievances they might have. I’m particularly disturbed by this recurring tendency of party stalwarts trying to settle their grievances by pushing for their opponents’ expulsion from the party, as we have also seen with Rhiannon and Buckingham.

  22. The postal votes are flowing very strongly for the ALP. If the result had been different on the night (aka greens in the lead), it would have been a long wait for the final result.

  23. This is quite a pleasing result, for several reasons.

    First, I am a Laborite at heart, and I am also happy to see my party win, especially in such a close race, and especially with such an impressive candidate. Kearney will be a good addition to both the parliament and the Caucus.

    It is also the case that this win strengthens Labor, and Shorten’s leadership. If the Greens had won (quite possible, given the demographics of the seat), we would be hearing no end of stories about how Labor needs to change this or that, and the knives would be out for Shorten – Kill Bill would be back in force. Instead, Shorten has been vindicated.

    Second, it’s a victory for serious policy. The ALP has put forward several items of significant policy reforms, and we can probably start to feel confident that the Shorten government will be the first in 20-odd years to seriously grapple with important budgetary issues.

    The Greens, on the other hand, ran a campaign heavy of slogans and generalities (Adani, refugees), but very light on specifics. It is pleasing that serious policy considerations won in the end.

  24. The media focus SHOULD now shift to the Parakeet of High Fashion, Dutton and Morrison counting numbers – and their undermining of each other to attract those numbers

    The removal of Turnbull is on and these 3 are doing the leg work – to the chagrin of Pyne who continues to wonder why no one expresses support for him when he throws his name into the hat

    The next question is who will the many factions align with?

    Those factions include Party Members not in the parliament starting with Kroger in Victoria – so who does the Kroger faction support, or the Kennett faction, or the Costello faction because there is no Victorian in a position to challenge for the leadership – from the State of the illustrious founder Menzies no less?

    Be interesting to see who visits Melbourne over the next 2 weeks and who they meet with

    Any eyes or ears at the Melbourne Club?

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