The Sunday after Super Saturday

A good night for Bill Shorten as Labor lands a surprisingly emphatic win in Longman, and does enough to get home in Braddon.

While Labor’s by-election performances were nothing special in historical terms, it was undeniably a good night for the party, thanks largely to an unexpectedly clear win in Longman. Five campaign opinion polls had Labor slightly behind in the seat, before the election eve Newspoll found them edging to a 51-49 lead. Labor actually appears headed for a winning margin of around 4%, bolstering a fragile 0.8% margin with a swing of 3.4%. The big surprise was the near double-digit fall in the Liberal National Party primary vote, which leaves them struggling to crack 30%. This is well below the 34% attributed to them by Newspoll, to say nothing of a series of ReachTEL results that had them approaching 40%.

The LNP slump rendered redundant what everyone imagined would be the decisive factor, namely the flow of One Nation preferences. Despite this, One Nation were the other big winner in Longman, adding around 7% to their 9.4% vote from 2016. This indeed flowed a lot more strongly to the LNP than in 2016, reflecting the party’s how-to-vote card recommendation and the fact that they clearly picked up much of the LNP’s lost support. After receiving 56.5% of One Nation preferences in 2016, Labor looks to have scored only a third this time.

The Braddon result was less good for Labor, notwithstanding that they have clearly won, and that this looked in doubt throughout the campaign. The main change from the 2016 result is that independent Craig Garland scored a creditable 11.0% (although it may come down a little in late counting), chipping a few percent away from each of Labor, Liberal and the Greens. Rebekha Sharkie’s win in Mayo was of about the anticipated scale: her present lead over Georgina Downer after preferences is 8.6%, compared with her 5.0% margin in 2016. Sharkie’s primary vote performance was even more robust, up from 34.9% to around 45%. This bespeaks one poor aspect of the by-elections for Labor – after playing dead at two successive elections, its vote in Mayo has fallen all the way to 6.0%.

In the two WA seats, Josh Wilson did notably better in Fremantle than Patrick Gorman did in Perth, although neither was in the least bit troubled. Wilson gained 11.6% to gain a clear majority on the primary vote, with the Greens treading water at 17% and the Liberal Democrats garnering enough stray Liberals to land in the low teens. Despite the 42.3% Liberal vote from 2016 being up for grabs (compared with 36.9% in Fremantle), Labor only made a negligible gain on the primary vote in Perth, with the Greens also only up slightly. The rest spread among a large field of 15 candidates, with independent Paul Collins the strongest performer among claimants to the Liberal vote. Turnout was notably subdued in Perth and Fremantle, and looks likely to settle at around 70%.

If you click on the image below, you will find an accounting of the swings in Braddon and Longman and, in the former case, an projection of the final result. Since the swing on votes counted in Braddon thus far is exactly zero, it concludes Labor’s existing margin of 2.2% will be maintained. Also featured are regional breakdowns for Braddon and Longman, with the former broken into the larger towns (Burnie, Devonport and Ulverstone) and the remainder, and the latter into Bribie Island area and the remainder. This doesn’t turn up anything particularly interesting: especially in Longman, the swings were remarkably uniform. Craig Garland’s vote was a little lower in the larger towns, but there was otherwise little distinction to speak of in Braddon.

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.

813 comments on “The Sunday after Super Saturday”

  1. I don’t know how the negotiations are going but must admit I had assumed for no real reason that the states were more or less in the NEG bag.

    Probably for the same reason as so many people thought one or both of Longman and Braddon would fall and Shorten would be rolled and Trumble would triumph in glory.

    It’s not like you BW to fall for media spin.

  2. Re Late Riser @7:55PM: maybe Malcolm Roberts hopes to sell them. I found an ad from 2014 for one of those infamous signs at the ‘No Carbon Tax’ rally three years earlier. The price: $2,900.

    I won’t post a link and won’t repeat the well known 3 word slogan.

    More likely, they’ll be back in next year’s election?

  3. Today’s Mumble highlights the press gallery’s and general Old Media’s own goal of bootstrapping its commentary around single seat polls.

    Back in Braddon and Longman, Labor could have expected to benefit from “sophomore surge” (both sitting MPs were freshly elected in 2016 and are likely to have generated new personal votes) as well as the usual swing against the government. The unexceptional results — on the low side of swings to oppositions — were made to look exceptional by the opinion polling, which allowed the media and party insiders to whip themselves into a lather of expectation that the Coalition would probably take one, maybe both. And what would that mean for Shorten’s leadership?

    Against these anticipations, the opposition leader looks like a miracle maker and a vote magnet. And from around 7.30pm eastern standard time on Saturday it was apparent to all that Labor had run two very fine, well-oiled campaigns indeed, particularly in Queensland.

    http://insidestory.org.au/not-so-great-expectations/

  4. When I see Malcolm Turnbull exhibiting his lack of political judgement and gracelessness, I am reminded of Groucho Marx. Groucho said words to the effect of, “ All you need in life is sincerity: if you can fake that, you’ve got it made!” Malcolm can’t even do that.
    Why Turnbull couldn’t simply say, “ Well done Labor; you won this time, I look forward to the next round.”, I don’t know.
    As PJK said, Malcolm really does lack judgement

  5. The argument that the NEG is more likely to pass because an earlier election is less likely.

    Is one of the lamest things I’ve heard from someone who presumably gets paid to say things.

    Just reading in other places, it appears that the information being provided to the states is selective and misleading and is being called out by experts. Typical Turnbull.

    And the core issue is whether the mechanism will interfere with states having their own emissions targets. If it does interfere, QLD will say no. If it doesn’t interfere the climate deniers will lobby to have the NEG changed. Classic Catch 22. I wish this so called journalist had the brains to figure this out.

  6. I don’t know how the negotiations are going but must admit I had assumed for no real reason that the states were more or less in the NEG bag.

    see above ^^

  7. Why Turnbull couldn’t simply say, “ Well done Labor; you won this time, I look forward to the next round.”, I don’t know.

    Did you see Turnbull’s 2016 election night speech? Not a hint of humility or contrition, just an unreconstructed, self centered diatribe.

  8. It has been a really interesting 24 hours or so. Labor reveling in their wins and deservedly so while the L/NP trotted out every excuse imaginable. But I hope Labor don’t let these wins go to their heads, anything can happen next time around. I’ve read and listened to a lot of guff about this party, that party and independents. Being a Taswegian, down this end of the country we have experience of the whole lot, from Brian Harradine to Jackie Lambie in the senate and people like Andrew Wilkie in the reps. Some seats, Bass in particular will swing from election to election, currently held by Labor, next time? Who knows.
    .
    Tasmania is the birth place of the Australian Greens, I think Norm Sanders was the first Green elected to the Senate but I’ll stand corrected on that. Having said that they have a very limited appeal hence the lack of seats in the federal and state governments and in some parts of Tasmania in particular there is a visceral hatred for the greens going back many years.

    As for the mob that currently inhabit Canberra I don’t know what to think. All parties have skeletons they don’t want revealed but if the MSM does their job they will be revealed which can only be a good thing, the more the merrier.

    The really big problem is selecting candidates, I can’t stand my local member as she’s done sfa while there but I have to vote for her (this is nothing to do with gender before anyone starts jumping on me) as I like the policies put forward by Bill Shorten and the rest of the Labor team and the only way to see them enacted is to vote for the local incumbent.

    Independents have an extraordinary amount of power when they hold the balance of power but any other time they aren’t going to achieve much. Just remember what happened between Andrew Wilkie and Julia Gillard. She managed to get a majority on the floor after Peter Slipper took over the speakers position and hence shafted Wilkie over his pokies legislation, an act of political bastardry that will taint her legacy for evermore. There are many more such acts perpetrated by everyone in politics every day. Remember one thing, if a politician says the grass is green, poke your head out the door or window and have a look.

  9. Steve777 @ #698 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 8:16 pm

    Re Late Riser @7:55PM: maybe Malcolm Roberts hopes to sell them. I found an ad from 2014 for one of those infamous signs at the ‘No Carbon Tax’ rally three years earlier. The price: $2,900.

    I won’t post a link and won’t repeat the well known 3 word slogan.

    More likely, they’ll be back in next year’s election?

    No doubt an enterprising entrepreneur could make a bob or two, say using them for paid selfies and other shameless promotion. I got the impression from the photo though that Roberts had something more sinister on his mind. (evil grin)

  10. Tasmania is the birth place of the Australian Greens, I think Norm Sanders was the first Green elected to the Senate

    Actually I think a West Australian Green (or maybe two) holds that honour.

  11. The Labor campaign in Longman was especially good and well targeted. The major focus was on health and in particular hospital funding. This is critical for those on Bribie where hospital relies on available ambulances and the hope the bridge isn’t blocked.

    Shorten promised an emergency medical centre for Bribie and I expect people will be looking for him to deliver this once he becomes PM.

    The fact that both the LNP and ON candidates received critical press at important times wouldn’t have helped. The LNP owes it to the Longman residents to give us a half-decent candidate. We have had some doozies.

  12. Bushfire Bill says:
    Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 6:21 pm
    After months of intense surgical fire under a Turnbull government strategy dubbed “Kill Bill”, what’s the outcome? Still Bill.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, the great persister, has once again been underestimated by the government, by many commentators, and more than a few doubting Thomases on his own side.

    Pretty good words from Mark Kenny, who sounds as if he might even have some part of a grudging regard for Bill Shorten.

    Shorten has shown over and over again that, while he may not be God’s gift to oratory, or be blessed by riches or by particular good looks, while he may be somewhat of a walking “Dad Joke”, and even may well have Questions To Answer, when the questions are asked and the delivery of the goods is required he seems to have the right stuff, for the right occasion, at the right time.
    ………………………………….
    1. Journalists categories
    a)Journalist who are balanced: Lenore Taylor, Laura Tingle, Mark Kenny & Bernard Keane
    b) Journalist who invested too much in MT: Hartcher, Murphyroo, Crowe, Coorey.
    c) Fake news purveyors: Murdoch Press
    2. For all his faults The biggest advantage Shorten has over MT is he proved he is very good campaigner. I do not think Albanese is a good campaigner. Why? the way he panicked in 2016 federal election & took help from Murdoch press is not good.

  13. Pedant:

    I interpreted that tweet as a riff off Murphy’s comments on Insiders defending their decision to run with leadershit rather than actual issues pertinent to voter aspirations as being based on ‘well Albo gave a speech and everyone was talking about it’.

  14. “Confessions says:
    Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm
    Today’s Mumble highlights the press gallery’s and general Old Media’s own goal of bootstrapping its commentary around single seat polls.

    Back in Braddon and Longman, Labor could have expected to benefit from “sophomore surge” (both sitting MPs were freshly elected in 2016 and are likely to have generated new personal votes) as well as the usual swing against the government. The unexceptional results — on the low side of swings to oppositions — were made to look exceptional by the opinion polling, which allowed the media and party insiders to whip themselves into a lather of expectation that the Coalition would probably take one, maybe both. And what would that mean for Shorten’s leadership?

    Against these anticipations, the opposition leader looks like a miracle maker and a vote magnet. And from around 7.30pm eastern standard time on Saturday it was apparent to all that Labor had run two very fine, well-oiled campaigns indeed, particularly in Queensland.

    http://insidestory.org.au/not-so-great-expectations/

    ………………………
    Back hand compliment to ALP

  15. “Andrew_Earlwood says:
    Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 8:42 pm
    Ven. Those you listed in category a belong in category b. Category a doesn’t exist.

    I disagree with you and stick to my list

  16. “Well Albo made a speech”

    Twelve hours later I am still laughing my arse off about that.

    He made a bloody speech for god’s sake.

  17. DavidWH, what do you think of Mumbles comment re Longman:

    So these results tell us very little about the next election (at which, it remains my humble opinion, Labor is likely to win overall, though the Coalition will probably take back Longman).

  18. dave I think the QLD government would sign a NEG that amounted to nothing and didn’t prevent QLD from going ahead with much higher emissions targets.

  19. “Well Albo made a speech”

    Precisely. Said journo stepped right in it. The speech was even vetted by Shorten’s office.
    She revealed how lazy she is and how much she just picked it up from listening to other journos.

  20. CC – The way way I recall it it would do just that. QLD seemed to just rule it out.

    I don’t have article readily at hand though.


  21. Confessions says:
    Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 8:49 pm
    Good grief, watch Downer Snr and his self entitled indulgence in this news clip!

    Peter van OnselenVerified account@vanOnselenP
    2h2 hours ago
    Go to the 1:05 mark of this footage for the most disgraceful act of the entire campaign

    https://twitter.com/7NewsAdelaide/status/1023487059250491392

    1. You mean Downer Sr dipped his chip in one sauce. After taking a bite dips the same chip in another sauce. National builders my foot.
    2. MT visited the electorate 3 times & Dynasty girl still lost by 18%. What does this say about Preferred PM in Opinion polls

  22. “Well Albo made a speech”
    Precisely. Said journo stepped right in it. The speech was even vetted by Shorten’s office.

    But but but ALP MPs were making rumbling noises in private to journo’s. They had to report it!

    Now, if the MP’s openly threatened to revolt and saying they would cross the floor then it would have been a non-story.

  23. Thanks Confessions and Pedant, I did say I’d stand to be corrected. Anyhoo to the Labor team, well done and to butcher a phrase….the people, united, will never be defeated

  24. Listen to daddy if you want but remember the old saying “Never believe your own propaganda”.

    Less than 24 hours after being comprehensively beaten in Super Saturday’s Mayo by-election, Liberal candidate Georgina Downer is already backing herself for another run at the seat at next year’s federal election…

    But Ms Downer, the daughter of former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer who held Mayo for 24 years, said she would again seek preselection for the Adelaide Hills seat as early as tomorrow.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-29/starting-gun-fired-in-federal-election-race-for-mayo/10048744

  25. Dolly Downer, colourfully referred to by Keating as the idiot son of the Adelaide aristocracy.

    But he did unite the waring sides of Cyprus AGAINST him when sent there as a UN Peace Envoy.

  26. Queensland and neg:

    27 July 2018: https://reneweconomy.com.au/esb-must-release-agenda-driven-modelling-75643/

    “Mark Butler has publicly stated Federal ALP wants a higher emissions target.

    “Labor can’t agree to an arrangement that will tie the hands of future governments for at least a decade, arrangements that would see wholesale power prices higher than they should be, no cuts in pollution, and jobs and investment in this really important industry of renewable energy absolutely smashed,” Butler told the ABC.”

    However, Bill Shorten has not come out and supported that.
    ::::::
    Anthony Lynham, the Queensland energy minister, has in an indirect way distanced himself from Federal ALP and, to our way of reading what he said, implicitly stated QLD will support the NEG. As reported in the SMH

    “Anthony Lynham, the state’s energy minister, told Fairfax Media that backing for the National Energy Guarantee hinges on whether Queensland’s target of making 50 per cent of its electricity renewable by 2030 will not be affected.”

    As we understand the NEG there is no obstacle to states pursuing their own additional targets. It does allow States such as NSW to underachieve but it does not stop other States overachieving. As such the comments by Dr Lynham are not a deal breaker.”

  27. Two good things from Saturday. The election will be in May 2019 if all goes to plan. And there will be no new fresh leader for Labor, Albo would have been a far greater problem.

  28. I think this would have to be the stupidest comment from Mumbles:

    “The chance of Shorten being toppled before the next election has receded further, which is actually a good outcome for the government. ”

    ________________________________________________

    It’s only a good outcome if there is a Bob Hawke (or even a Malcolm Turnbull) waiting in the wings to take over. Otherwise, I cannot foresee a situation where any currently available candidate (which is the entire Parliamentary Labor Party) would attract enough new support to even begin to counteract the transactional costs of Labor dumping its leader (and that’s not taking into account the process required to do so).

    I’m a great fan of Shorten, but I’ve talked to enough non-political people to know that he does not make a good impression at all among those who have not followed him closely or met him. He is a fair bit of a liability in the Opposition stakes, but last night’s by-elections showed that the government’s current ‘policies’ are more of a liability to the Coalition – and anyone who doesn’t think that the change of leader to anyone at all prior to the next election will ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE that Labor loses, has a whole menagerie in the belfry.

    So, in the realm of foreseeable alternatives, the Liberals will not be happy that Shorten has survived. It is not a good outcome for the government. The only good outcome for this government is to continue to direct focus away from it and towards its opponents. The fact that they bet the house on playing up the leadershit possibilities means that it cannot do that now and the more it spins right now the more it will entrench in the minds of voters that it stands for nothing but fungible words.

  29. sam griffin @ #619 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:43 pm

    posts about dog training & political acumen have bred & trained working dogs most of my life, most important lesson is to leave what they are doing &( come behind) when called. our pm could not master that so he was unable to tell tony to (come behind, he should have said put up or shut up, my way or the highway . one of them would have fallen perhaps both & AUSTRALIA would of found its way a lot easier

    Malcolm Turnbull isn’t a success with felines either.

  30. CPG may well ‘refrain’ from counting Turnbull’s number of losing Newspolls but his own side looking down at unemployment are unlikely to.

  31. If the Libs really do think Georgina Downer is a quality candidate who deserves to be in parliament they won’t let her run again in Mayo, but will find a safer seat for her to contest. Or a Senate seat.

    If they let her contest Mayo again at the next election it will tell me they don’t want her in parliament and are just appeasing her because of her father.

  32. TPOF:

    In addition to superior policies, the other thing Labor has in its favour is stability. Shorten has held the team together exceptionally well the last 5 years, despite much agitation and rabble-rousing from News ltd and the press gallery.

    Compare and contrast with Turnbull, whom Rowe depicted brilliantly in his latest cartoon as not wanting to look in the mirror lest he find that monkey Abbott behind him just poised to strike.

  33. Ides of March.not logged in @ #723 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 8:56 pm

    Jill Vallentine (originally Nuclear Disarmament Party) was the first Greens senator, elected in WA.

    Jo Vallentine came into the Senate for the first time in 1985 for The Nuclear Disarmament Party, then was re-elected in 1990 for The WA Greens.

    Christabel Chamarette was the second Greens WA Senator to be elected in 1992. 🙂

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