Wagga Wagga by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Wagga Wagga state by-election in New South Wales.

Sunday night. Antony Green is now leaving only the faintest hint of wriggle room, in saying “scrutineer figures suggest McGirr is now certain to win”. Today we have had 1099 postal votes, 441 “enrolment” votes (which I take to be those who availed themselves of enrolment on election day, as is allowed in New South Wales) and 10 absent votes (which I don’t understand). The top three candidates are fairly evenly placed on primary votes, so preferences from the other will determine which of the three is excluded. Clearly those scrutineers reports suggest it won’t be Joe McGirr, confirming the irrelevance of the Liberal-versus-Labor preference count that the NSWEC pulled last night, which showed Labor would have narrowly won. It’s also clear that McGirr stands to receive non-trivial amounts of preferences from either Labor or Liberal, whichever one it is that drops out.

10.51pm. That long awaited Wagga Wagga town pre-poll booth decides it for McGirr, who outpolled both major parties there with 3202 (26.9%) to the Liberals’ 3029 (26.0%) and Labor’s 2737 (23.0%). This means the notional two-party count is surely now irrelevant, but for what it’s worth, the iVotes cut the Labor lead from 2.3% to 1.3%.

10.33pm. Twelve thousand pre-polls take a while to count it seems. My best estimate is that they will push Labor into the lead on the primary vote, at around 25.5%, with McGirr on 24.7% and the Liberals on 23.8%. After that there won’t be much left: at most 1500 postals and 500 bits and pieces. So any turn-up in late counting can only come from the enormous hit of Wagga Wagga town pre-polls that I presume will be through this evening.

9.42pm. Now we have 2666 iVotes, of which McGirr has 23.5%, which he can live with. The Liberals did relatively well, getting 30%, while Labor only got 17.7%. So they’re now back ahead of Labor on the primary vote, though not two-party.

9.33pm. Antony Green says there will be fully 12,000 votes to come in later tonight from the Wagga Wagga town pre-poll. That’s enough to turn up a significant surprise, in whichever direction.

9.32pm. On the two-party count, the swing to Labor in the Tumut pre-poll was 11.7%, which is lower than their 15.0% on the polling booth votes. The Liberal margin is 12.9%, so they would need to do better than that on the remainder of late counting, if indeed it did come down to Labor versus Liberal.

9.20pm. McGirr got 16.7% of the polling booth vote in Tumut, and now 13.6% on pre-poll. He would need to do more than 3% worse on late counting compared with ordinary votes to lose.

9.18pm. However, Antony notes these votes were from Tumut, and McGirr is stronger in Wagga Wagga, which should come through with over 8000 pre-polls votes later this evening.

9.12pm. Now we have 2748 pre-polls counted, and they have gone remarkably badly for Joe McGirr, who only got 13.6% of them.

9.06pm. All booths now in on the primary vote.

8.52pm. Labor now well ahead on two-party, by a little over 52-48. So if there’s any hypothetical threat to McGirr, and it’s a big if, it’s increasingly looking like it will be from Labor.

8.36pm. So here’s the situation. If Joe McGirr makes the final count, he will win easily. If he doesn’t though, it will be lineball between Liberal and Labor. McGirr will presumably manage, but we should have a huge amount of pre-polls come in later this evening, with postals to come through over the coming week. If these come in below 20% for him, it could yet get interesting.

8.34pm. Now Labor are ahead on two-party preferred. Ironically, the extent of the Liberal collapse may end up costing Labor the seat.

8.29pm. Nothing in it on the notional two-party Liberal-versus-Liberal count, with seven booths left to report.

8.24pm. Only one booth left to report.

8.20pm. This was over half an hour ago now, but Antony Green was being cautious in his assessment due to the outside possibility that Joe McGirr will tank on postals and pre-polls, in which case the notional two-party count would no longer be theoretical. The Liberals currently hold a 51-49 lead over Labor here on the raw vote, and my projection has it lineball.

8.04pm. Three booths still to come now. For what little it’s worth, the Liberals have edged to a 52-48 lead on the two-party count.

7.59pm. Only four booths left to go on the primary vote, and it’s increasingly looking like the Liberals will finish third.

7.51pm. Now up to 23 booths out of 29 and the Liberals have definitively fallen behind Labor. The notional Liberal-versus-Labor two-party shows a 13% swing against the Liberals, suggesting this would come right down to the wire if it ended up being a Liberal-versus-Labor contest.

7.41pm. There’s very little in it between Liberal, Labor and McGirr on the primary vote, but presumably McGirr will get a strong flow of minor party and independent preferences.

7.37pm. Now up to 21 booths out of 29 and it’s no longer clear the Liberals will even finish second. Labor is still down on the primary vote, but not by as much as earlier in the count.

7.32pm. McGirr back in front on the primary vote; I’m projecting a tie.

7.30pm. Eighteen booths out of 29 have now reported, and the Liberals are back in front on the primary vote, not that that will save them.

7.27pm. Two more booths in and the situation keeps getting worse for the Liberals. McGirr now leads on both the raw and projected primary vote.

7.21pm. Big surge to Joe McGirr from the last four booths. His primary vote is now only a fraction below the Liberals, both on raw and projected terms, in which case game over. Not much chance of Labor finishing second by the looks.

7.13pm. A tenth booth now, not sure from where, but it has weakened the Liberals and strengthened McGirr. Projected Liberal primary vote back below 30%.

7.10pm. Nine booths in now out of 29, and the Liberals continue to strengthen. Joe McGirr remains in the low twenties and Labor in the high teens. A notional Liberal-versus-Labor count is being conducted, but it probably won’t be much use, as the question seems to be whether McGirr will get enough preferences to overhaul the Liberals.

7.03pm. Seven booths in now, and the results are looking a bit better for the Liberals. I now have their vote down 22.0%, where before it was more like 30%. This means I’m projecting them to finish north of 30% on the primary vote. Joe McGirr is on 24.0% though, and I presume he would get enough preferences if that was how it panned out.

6.49pm. Uranquinty Public booth maintains the earlier trend.

6.47pm. So far Labor are down on the primary vote, so early as the indications are, they are good for Joe McGirr.

6.45pm. Yerong Creek booth now in as well, and it looks much like the first. The raw Liberal primary vote is about 33%, but these booths were about 10% above the Liberal norm in 2015.

6.38pm. One small booth in — Talbingo Public — has, by my reckoning, the Liberal vote dropping by other half. A tiny number of votes of course, but the results look rather a lot like what the polls were showing. Over the fold you will find a primary votes table with booth-matched swings and projections. I hope against hope it doesn’t have too many bugs.

6pm. Polling has closed for the Wagga Wagga by-election. Live commentary to follow.

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.

353 thoughts on “Wagga Wagga by-election live”

  1. Thought I’d just pop in to mention – as an ALP member who is working towards an ALP government next March – that Cud is correct and Watson Watch is wrong.

    I work in the industry and while Watson Watch has some points that are close to the truth, there is more wrong than right.

    There is so much to criticise from this government, using misinformation is really not needed.

    – Metro starts as 6 car holding 378 seated and about 750 standing at 4 people/m^2
    – Metro can be expanded to 8 car holding 506 seated and about 1000 standing at 4 people/m^2
    – Metro can run every 2 minutes rather than every 3 minutes
    – the Bankstown line will have a dedicated line into the city rather than sharing the City Circle with other lines

  2. Cud,
    It was only Liberal/National Party governments that neglected rail in NSW.

    Even Mike Baird complained about the transport policies that were implemented when his father was Liberal Party Transport Minister.

  3. The conservative meltdown in The Australian’s comments section is delicious.

    “Aubrey 35 MINUTES AGO
    The swing could also be Liberal supporters’ objections to the takeover of the Liberal Party by the “progressives” which include the Premier herself based on her own admission.”

    “John 7 hours ago
    No doubt the right ‘faction’ will get the blame for any losses federally or at state level, but we will never know how badly a party under Turnbull would have fared. In my book the party will pay dearly for actions by Turnbull, Pyne and Birmingham.”

  4. Catmomma earlier. You asked about Calare. Calare was traditionally based on the Lachlan river (its Wiradjuri name was Kalaru ) and to its north. Like Werriwa to the south named after Lake George it has moved north and east albeit it is still a regional seat unlike Werriwa. Apart from the seat name the only use of the name “Calare” I know of in the region is the pub at Bendick Murrell (yes, that is its real name). There used to be a Calare Butchery in Young about 50 years ago.

  5. Dave – sweet dreams, and thanks again for the local “colour”. It really helped set the scene. The only people I know from Wagga – would be very surprised if they voted Labor even this time, but they may have backed McGirr, will try and find out (very subtly!) one day.

  6. Citizen

    Mostly agree except I think major rail lines snd HSR are logically the province of Federal government. At least funding wise.

    IA is a mess and is dominated by road thinking.

  7. Keen to do a nudie run across Michael Slater Oval to Mork Taylor Oval (Bolton Park). Who’s with me?
    Baylis St will look better than ever when the sun comes up.

  8. Great days ahead for Wagga Wagga. A modern multicultural city that is affordable, honest and friendly.
    It’s what Sydney used to be.
    Best thing I ever did was move here in 2001.

  9. Watson

    Factually incorrect.

    Sydney Metro is 6 cars with provision to expand to 8. 500 seated. 1000 standing for the 8 car version.

    The Epping Chatswood rail line runs 4 trains per hour and could possibly be expanded to 6 or 8 trains. That’s roughly 5,000 to 7, 000 seats.

    Compared to 7,500 seats for a 15 train 8 car metro service and an ultimate capacity of double that.

    Not to mention a total capacity of 22,000 (future 45,000) which is relevant to the shorter journeys from Chatswood south.

    This is at a notional (industry standard) occupation of 4 people per square metre. “Crush load” for a metro is higher. 4 ppl per sqm is a reliable capacity (low dwell times).

    Quoting higher standing figures for a DD train is intellectually dishonest. 1200 is a reliable total load. Higher crush loadings are possible but only on special event express services. Otherwise the dwell times make it self defeating.

    The anti metro crowd just won’t accept change. We need more, new, entirely independent rail lines and it amuses me no end that the old guard doesn’t just want to keep DD trains on new lines but it wants new lines to become branches. Simply making the situation worse.

  10. Unitary State says:
    Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 12:10 am
    any talk of a leadership challenge to gladys yet?

    I did as below & disputed by Ides@9:38pm
    “Ven says:
    Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 9:32 pm
    Ides of March@9:20 pm
    Nobody is saying that. But this result will send shivers down the LNP spine and cold sweat on a cold night for Gladys and Morrison
    This could have leadership implications for Gladys like Orange by-election had for Mike Baird and NSW Nationals party leader at that time

    Good night

  11. Gladys can blame Canberra all she likes.
    So can you lot.
    I live in Wagga.
    The reason, the only reason, the Libs lost Wagga is because Daryl was a crook.
    ScoMo and Potato Head didn’t help.
    It was Daryl what did it.

  12. Cud Chewer,

    The figures I provided are from the NSW Government Sydney Metro City & Southwest Newsletter dated June 2018.
    Please tell Gladys that her Government’s figures are factually incorrect!

    I agree with you that quoting crush figures is intellectually dishonest.

    IMHO, spending umpteen billions of dollars to on a dodgy transport project based on figures that you call “intellectually dishonest” is incompetence on a grand scale.

    Hopefully, we will soon have a competent government that will stop this white elephant!

    The 6 people per square metre is from the manufacturer of the metro trains that Gladys has ordered.

    I am not anti metro. I am anti stupidity and anti incompetence!

    BTW Epping and Chatswood are not on the Bankstown line.

  13. @Watson Watch

    i used to be against converting chatswood-epping and the bankstown line to metro, but i now don’t have a problem with it honestly.

  14. Watson

    I very much doubt the Sydney Metro blurbs say 5 car trains so I don’t know where you got that nonsense from.

    The simple fact remains. Sydney Metro provides those on the Epping to Chatswood line with a undisputably improved service compared to today, no matter what the metric.

    The 1,500 people per 8 car train is based on 4 people per sqm. Note again this is a reliable (short dwell) loading. This compares to 1200 for a reliable load on a DD train and even that is a little generous.

    I’m sorry but the anti metro people are being seriously dishonest and there is no need for Labor to buy into it. Nor you.

    Sydney needs half a dozen new, stand alone rail lines. That’s going to cost tens of billions. Sadly the anti metro brigade have also been pretending that there are cheap fixes. There aren’t.

    I’m sorry but I find your overblown rhetoric laughable. The problem is fundamentally a bunch of old men with an identity crisis. Life moves on. Technology moves on.

  15. Btw I am all for a competent Labor government. Which is why I and other experts are trying to educate Labor.

    Labor needs to divorce itself from the unhinged rear guard ShittyRail retirees and work on a comprehensive rail infrastructure plan.

  16. Cud chewer,
    I’m glad to hear you are excited about Epping to Chatswood changes.

    I never use that railway and have no interest in it.

    I do rely on being able to use the Bankstown railway line.

    The “anti metro people” you are referring to is the body that Gladys setup to convert the Bankstown Railway line to a metro.
    The website listed on the bottom of their brochure is sydneymetro.info and the phone number is 1800 171 386.

    If you believe that their figures are factually untrue, please tell Andrew Constance or Gladys B.

    I do not belong to any political party.
    The figures that you are disputing are from the Liberal government.
    I look forward to hearing how you get on educating “anti metro” Liberal Party.

  17. Watson. I’m in a hotel room in Spain so I’ve no interest in finding out how you get your facts wrong.

    Here is the situation with the Bankstown line. Trains on the Bankstown line share space with trains from T2 and T8 in the city circle. Therefore you cannot expect more than 8 trains in peak. 4 off peak. And those 8 trains take alternate directions around the city circle. One of many bits of user-unfriendlyness inherent to presently over-complex network.

    Converting the Bankstown line to metro gives Bankstown line trains there own path into the city. It also gives Bankstown line users double the number of trains (15) and quadruple in the long term.

    Presently those 8 DD trains provide about 7,000 seats. The metro on day one provides 5,600 seats in its initial 6 car form thence to be upgraded to 7,500 seats in 8 car form. Then double that in the longer term. You simply cannot “fix” the Bankstown line and give it this kind of capacity were it to remain attached to the city circle. This is where the antis are living in lala land.

    You probably also don’t want to know that the metro will cut 10 minutes between Bankstown and the city. Of course the anti metro people don’t mention this because their real motivation is clinging to their past.

    I won’t even mention the fact that taking the Bankstown line out of the city circle frees more paths for T2 and T8. Of course, overcrowding on the inner west and airport lines are unheard of. Excuse me for a moment while I mop up the sarcasm..

    The anti metro people are the worst kind of idiots. Dangerous ones. The kind that fool people like you for less than angelic motives. They just want to cling to a particular way of doing things because – lets face it – because they are old, tired and scared. Its “their” network and change threatens their identity. Sad. Because it threatens people like you who will benefit from an easier to use, faster trip.

  18. Hey cudchewer,

    Do you have any info on the relative speeds. i. e. The time that it will take metro to travel between epping and Chatswood against the current heavy rail time?

  19. Dave

    Glad to hear the sun came up, and the night was only temporary – gives everyone hope after that preacher’s predicted “darkness” should Morrison not get re-elected.

    Yes, Daryl Maguire was the central cause – classic example of a person in a safe seat for years who thinks they can therefore get away with anything. And when there is a strong local independent candidate it is the “tipping point” that gives so many in the electorate the idea that maybe there really can be a change.

  20. Just in case you’re all over here this morning.

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    You might say brand Liberal is on the nose!
    Morrison has cleared the ground for a migration overhaul that confronts surging growth in Sydney and Melbourne, using regional rules to set a different approach for each part of the country.
    Jacqui Maley has a bit of a spit at Julie bishop’s late conversion to supporting gender balance on the Liberal party and Morrison’s foray into the subject of gender fluidity.
    Mat Wade tells us why Australians aren’t buying the good economic numbers story.
    Between drought and rapacious supermarkets the dairy industry is really struggling.
    Tony Wright uses the concept of murmuration to explain recent political behaviour.
    Greg Kericho tells us that Big banks and employers do what they like – because they can!
    Warwick McFadyen takes the piss out of Morrison’s envoys.
    After roughly six years of uninterrupted, breakneck growth, Australia’s housing prices are falling, and the noises from the lenders have changed. The difference between now and five years ago, Sice says, is like “chalk and cheese”.
    Here’s Peter FitzSimons’ weekly column.
    In yet another turn in a legal battle that has plagued President Donald Trump for months, Michael Cohen, his longtime fixer, offered late on Friday to tear up a nondisclosure agreement with a pornographic film star who has long claimed she had an affair with Trump.
    The Tories have long known Boris Johnson is a cheat and liar whose only loyalty is to himself. What will it take for them to ditch him?
    New South Wales detectives have charged 70 people, including IT professionals, real estate agents and mortgage brokers, in an investigation into an alleged violent crime syndicate behind a spate of underworld killings. Quite a bust!
    Here’s a strong contender for ‘Arsehole of the Week”.
    And I reckon there are a number of budding contenders for the award in this private school,

    Cartoon Corner

    Mark David’s been busy! And he seems to have established his portrayal of Morrison.

    From Matt Golding.

    A few more in here.

  21. Palaly there’s nothing official but considering thr physics the metro should be 2-3 minutes faster Epping to Chatswood. Officially Chatswood to Martin Place is going to be 10 mins faster than the current line.

    That’s going to see a lot of people from thr upper north shore jump trains (cross platform) at Chatswood.. once the next stage is built.

  22. A couple of things about Wagga by-election result.
    1. It shows Gladys is not leadership material. She is just a Manager. I have never seen her giving a speech outlining her vision. The vision on ABC news of her walking with Lib candidate on the footpath in Wagga with no volunteers in sight is telling.
    2. The result has national implications.
    3. The result sends shivers down the LNP spine.
    4. I believe the opinion polls are not picking up the real anger in regional and rural Australia.
    5. In the 3 by-election results (Young, Wagga-Wagga and Longman) we have seen PV starting with 2.
    6. LNP brand is thrashed whether it is Libs or Nationals. Regional and Rural Australia does not have any leader they can trust. Look at Nationals leadership. Completely disgraceful Joyce, Real estate agent Barrilaro(state), ‘what his name’ McCormick. A PM who prays and sermonises rather provide help to the struggling families in bush and a state premier who gives an impression that she is interested in city only.

  23. I am not sure what national conclusions can be drawn from the result.

    It was quite clear already that the federal Liberal Party has thrown itself under a bus by changing leader and PM in an extremely messy way. They already were probably headed for defeat, but not without an outside chance, now they are going to get smashed unless the Labor Party makes a total mess of things.

    So a result in a state seat where the local member had to resign because he was a crook does not change much at all, at most it is just a reflection of what we already knew. That the anti-Liberal vote went to an independent and not Labor is interesting, but probably also means nothing in the larger picture. Maybe a slight indication of a trend away from both major parties, but were already seeing this clearly.

  24. I only just caught up with this result. What a fantastic achievement to turf the Libs out of Waga Wagga. A 28% swing! This proves the LNP is on the nose in rural and urban areas. I agree with Dave – no government survives the stench of proven corruption for very long.

    Also well done to the Labor campaign team. Seeing McGirr win instead of Hayes is still a Liberal loss. And as Rebekah Sharkey recently proved, an honest independent, once elected, is often very hard to shift in a rural seat. The Libs may not get Wagga back for some time.

  25. Zoidlord

    I suspect so. Calling it a Labor loss after 28% swing against the Liberals is funny, bordering on bizarre. Especially given Liberal preferences will elect somebody who will not caucus with them.

    You can almost here the calls to hire shredding machines now.

  26. But in Victoria they did not use the shredders but placed the documents into storage – including their data base of those who opposed them so their dirt and attack records

    Given the last election was presented as a referendum on the East/West Link they obviously went to the trouble of accruing a list of names and addresses for over 50% of the voting public with their listing of those who opposed that dud project

    Starting with names and addresses

  27. Observer

    Democracy would be better served if we had a public record of exactly who got the $1.2 billion payout from cancelling the dud contract for EW link that the Liberals signed. And how much of it came back to them via donation?

  28. Sunday night update to post:

    Antony Green is now leaving only the faintest hint of wriggle room, in saying “scrutineer figures suggest McGirr is now certain to win”. Today we have had 1099 postal votes, 441 “enrolment” votes (which I take to be those who availed themselves of enrolment on election day, as is allowed in New South Wales) and 10 absent votes (which I don’t understand). The top three candidates are fairly evenly placed on primary votes, so preferences from the other will determine which of the three is excluded. Clearly those scrutineers reports suggest it won’t be Joe McGirr, confirming the irrelevance of the Liberal-versus-Labor preference count that the NSWEC pulled last night, which showed Labor would have narrowly won. It’s also clear that McGirr stands to receive non-trivial amounts of preferences from either Labor or Liberal, whichever one it is that drops out.

  29. to come third when you held the seat with over 60% of the vote is strange and I think a precedent in nsw.The underlying vote is a labor win by about 2% against the liberals. To lose a seat that was held through good and bad times since 1957 is exceptional. This suggests to me that libs or Nats in any country seat will have trouble in retaining such seats at a state level.

  30. An independent beating Labor in 2CP, as well as Labor beating the Liberals in 2PP, is the perfect result. Let’s hope McGirr can do as well against the Nationals next March.

  31. Everyone seems pretty confident that the Libs are toast, but on a quick squizz of the current vote tallies, it all looks a bit premature to me. Libs are (just) leading McGirr, and in a normal election could expect most Shooters prefs, as Labor could for the Greens. McGirr doesn’t seem a certainty of top 2, let alone the seat.

    Also, from what I’ve heard from those I know who’ve worked with McGirr, he may be little better than a Lib in any case. Wagga’s health system is notoriously ultra-Catholic, leading to all sorts of regressive outcomes, in particular for women’s access to sexual health services. McGirr is an academic at the Catholic Notre Dame University, whose medical school is notoriously anti-choice on reproductive rights.

    If he does get up, it’s hardly dancing-in-the-streets stuff, as he seems the worst of the three leading candidates.

  32. Agree. If ‘Country Labor’ had won Wagga, they’d only lose it at the state election (probably to the Coalition). An Independent like McGirr, on the other hand, has a good chance of holding the seat beyond March 2019.

  33. yes the libs are toast. McGuire has been congrat as the winner by Dan Hayes alp candidate… expected on prefs alp and mcgirr will be in the final 2 with lib prefs deciding even though a lot will exhaust labour cannot overtake mcgirr. For the first time in a country byelrction there is an underlying alp majority against the libs. I suspect who ever won this byelection would have been re elected in March 2019.. now Mr Mcgirr will be re elected

  34. I think that had the ALP candidate won, he would have had quite a reasonable chance at re-election in March (especially if the Commonwealth Government has not changed before then) but may have struggled at subsequent elections. McGirr however has a decent chance at longevity in the seat.

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