Victorian election upper house finale

Seventeen days on, the precise configuration of a bewildering Victorian upper house election result will be determined later today.

UPDATE: Results confirmed in the following table. See region entries below for more detail.

The Victorian state election is to reach its final resolution this afternoon when the proverbial button is pressed on the Legislative Council counts. The broad outline of the result is clear in that Labor stands to win probably 17 seats (UPDATE: actually eighteen), up from 14 in 2014, but this will not make their life any less complicated owing to the poor show by the Greens, who went in with five seats and will come with one, or two if they’re lucky. The Coalition, which went in with 16 seats and held 21 seats and a majority when it gained office in 2010, will emerge with a miserable showing of perhaps ten seats (UPDATE: make that eleven). In the middle: a giant herd of micro-party members, the precise identify of which remains to be discerned.

Picking winners from the primary vote tallies and some help from Antony Green’s calculators is less straightforward than it has been in the past, owing to an increase in the below-the-line voting rate from around 5% to 10%. Seemingly assured of victory are three candidates of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, who stand to triple the Greens’ representation, and may win four; and one each from Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Transport Matters, Sustainable Australia, the Liberal Democrats and Animal Justice. On top of that, Fiona Patten of the Reason Party will win if the Justice Party can’t get a fourth seat, and either Transport Matters or the Liberal Democrats will make it to two.

The following review of the situation owes a very great deal to Kevin Bonham, who has been covering the late counting in exhaustive detail.

Eastern Metropolitan

With Greens incumbent Samantha Dunn out of contention, this looks to be a matter of two seats apiece for Labor (Shaun Leane re-elected, Sonja Terpstra gaining a second seat) and Liberal (Mary Wooldridge and Bruce Atkinson re-elected) and the last seat going to a micro-party snowballer – which appears all but certain to be Rodney Barton from Transport Matters.

UPDATE: This has gone expected.

Northern Metropolitan

The one region where the Greens have scored a full quota – a feat that has eluded the Liberals, although they appear set to retain a seat all the same. Labor’s Jenny Mikakos and Nazih Elasmar will retain their seats, leaving one spare for a minor player. That could either involve Fiona Patten of the Reason Party being re-elected, or the seat instead going to Carmela Dagiandis of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. As Kevin Bonham explains, Patten is depending on preferences from Victorian Socialists, and will only get them if Ratnam reaches a quota before they are excluded.

UPDATE: Patten wins.

Southern Metropolitan

This is the one looming Greens defeat that clearly reflects the injustice of the electoral system, rather than the party’s slide in support in the suburbs. Labor’s Nina Taylor looks set to pick up a second seat at the expense of Greens incumbent Sue Pennicuik, joining a re-elected Philip Dalidakis. Of the three Liberal incumbents, David Davis and Georgie Crozier will be re-elected, but Margaret Fitzherbert appears set to lose her seat to Clifford Hayes of Sustainable Australia.

UPDATE: Confirmed.

South-Eastern Metropolitan

On the left, Labor will gain a third seat from the Greens, with incumbents Gavin Jennings and Adem Somyurek to be joined by newcomer Tien Dung Kieu, and Greens member Nina Springle losing out. On the right, only lead Liberal candidate Gordon Rich-Phillips stands to be re-elected, with second-placed veteran Inga Peulich set to lose to either Ali Khan of Transport Matters or David Limbrick of the Liberal Democrats.

UPDATE: It’s David Limbrick of the Liberal Democrats.

Western Metropolitan

Huong Truong of the Greens appeared to have some chance of clinging on her seat here in a favourable trend in late counting emerged, but it hasn’t. The result here in 2014 was Labor two and one apiece for Liberal, the Greens and the DLP; this time Labor will gain a seat from the Greens, with incumbent Cesar Melham to be joined by newcomers Ingrid Stitt and Kaushaliya Virjibhai Vaghela; Catherine Cumming of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party will take the micro-party seat off the DLP; and lead candidate Bernie Finn will remain the only Liberal.

UPDATE: All correct.

Eastern Victoria

This will likely be a status quo result of Labor two (Jane Garrett making her move from the lower house, Harriet Shing winning re-election), Coalition two (Edward O’Donohue of Liberal and Melina Bath of the Nationals, both incumbents) and Shooters Fishers and Farmers (Jeff Bourman) one. The ABC projection has the Shooters seat instead going to the Aussie Battler Party, but its assumptions involve ideal scenarios for the small players, and the realities of below-the-line voting are likely to thwart them.

UPDATE: And so it has proved.

Northern Victoria

With the Coalition, Labor and the Greens accounting for barely more than two-thirds between them, this region looks set to elect two micro-party candidates, who look like being Tim Quilty of the Liberal Democrats and Tania Maxwell of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. The other three seats are likely to go two Labor (Mark Gepp and Jaclyn Symes re-elected) and one Liberal (Wendy Lovell re-elected), although there’s an outside chance it will be the other way around, in which case the Luke O’Sullivan of the Nationals will retain his seat.

UPDATE: No late save for Luke O’Sullivan of the Nationals, with Labor gaining a second seat.

Western Victoria

This too looks likely to end with two micro-party winners. The result in 2014 was two apiece for Labor and Liberal and one for Vote 1 Local Jobs; now the Liberals look all but certain to drop a seat, with Stuart Grimley of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and Andy Meddick of Animal Justice taking the last places. Jaala Pulford and Gayle Tierney will be re-elected for Labor; Beverley MacArthur will enter parliament as the head candidate on the Liberal ticket, with second-placed incumbent Joshua Morris losing out.

UPDATE: Confirmed.

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.

90 comments on “Victorian election upper house finale”

  1. The GTV system has worked out so badly for the Greens at this election that they may have had more MLCs if the ALP had not reformed the Legislative Council in 2003 (potentially 2 in Melbourne Province, 1 elected 2014 and the other 2018).

  2. Transport matters. Would love if they’re free public transport in Victoria policy gets through. Would hate if their Uber busting agenda gets through, but it seems like the former is far less likely than the latter.

  3. I’m also happy that Fiona Patten retained her place in the legislative council, bit still pissed that Labor rat-fucked her with their preference deals. Surely Reason, a centre left party was more in line with Labors objectives than most of the other parties in the race.

  4. Wondering if this result may see weed decriminalised in Victoria. It’s on Patten’s to-do list, and may get up as did things like the injecting room and assisted dying in the last upper house. Especially as AFAIK Cathering Cumming also has it on her to-do list, as a means of freeing up police resources to concentrate on ice etc, though I’m not sure that’s a Hinch party policy or just hers.

  5. Alex C

    I think what you seek is a quota that is approximately a fifth rather sixth+1.

    The idea in Australia with our STV is that someone has to lose.

    But I agree, that if you are approximating PR, then every quota gets represented.

  6. Does anyone know the Sustainable and Transport Matters successful candidates? If they are true to their branding, you would think Labor will have an easy time of things in the upper house.

  7. Compare Hinch in Canberra with Xenophon – he seems to be a more effective & rational politician.
    He has a better chance of keeping his team(s) together than Palmer, Hanson & Xenophon- I have no doubt he wants to emulate his Victorian success in NSW come March next year.

  8. Well, passing legislation in the Legislative Council where you only have to deal with one party: the Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, should simplify the life of the ALP government…. I would think.

  9. “I have no doubt he wants to emulate his Victorian success in NSW come March next year”….
    The success or demise of his party will be determined by his Justice Party’s stance towards the ALP Vic Government: constructive and productive, then success…. playing stupid games and obstructive for its own little political games, then failure.

  10. well said Kevin
    “For the first time in Victoria we have seen parties able to preference-harvest their way to victory even from below 1% of the vote, “beating” parties with as much as fourteen and a half times their primary vote off the back of luck and backroom preference deals.”

    Time for this dodgy ‘electoral’ system to go in the bin.

    I say ‘electoral’, because its quasi-democratic at best. It actively thwarts voter intent, and their are very basic questions over its legitimacy.

    Why the most progressive government has the most dodgy upper house electoral system (booby prize shared with WA) is a question that should and will be asked.

  11. @ Catprog

    Yes, that is what I am talking about.
    Didn’t know there was a handy Wikipedia article. It’s a long time since I looked into the electoral system lingo. Thanks.

    And yes, perhaps he is seeking Condorcet which also ensures there isn’t a wasted, lost, unrepresented quota.

    Still, my recollection is that the general difference is Condorcet would produce a more harmonious selection of candidates while STV produces a broader diversity. Obviously that’s a statistical tendency rather than an absolute rule.

    I generally go with Hare quota STV for houses of review and Condorcet for committees or houses of government.

    So for Vic LC I think STV is the go, but in the Tasmania LA I would support Condorcet.

  12. Socrates @ 7:24 am
    Does anyone know the Sustainable and Transport Matters successful candidates? If they are true to their branding, you would think Labor will have an easy time of things in the upper house.

    The so-called “Transport Matters” party was formed by taxi drivers, annoyed by changes the Andrews government made to the taxi licensing system.

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/melbourne-grinding-to-a-halt-new-political-party-for-transport-20180512-p4zevw.html

    Rod Barton was elected in Eastern Metropolitan with 0.62% of the vote. He is quoted in today’s Age as acknowledging Andrews’ mandate, and saying that he will “not be obstructive”.

    Other transport-related policies announced by the party were entirely secondary to the main game.

  13. “Why the most progressive government has the most dodgy upper house electoral system (booby prize shared with WA) is a question that should and will be asked.”….

    Are you trying to blame the ALP for the upper house voting system in Victoria (and apparently also in WA)?

  14. Wrt Transport Matters etc, the party only exists because of Taxi industry anger over deregulation and Uber etc. Without that issue they wouldn’t exist. They must’ve spend buckets on Druery cooking the preferences to that extent, but I guess they’re gambling they’ll earn it back if Uber gets booted from Melbourne.

    Sust Australia I don’t trust at all – they look too much like xenophobia disguised as environmentalism. “Fuck Off, we don’t have enough water”.

    So I wouldn’t expect too much support progressive policies from those two crews.

  15. The Victorian Liberals need to sit down and have a very, very deep look at themselves:

    Party……Lower House first prefs……Upper House first prefs….. Difference
    ALP…………. 42.86%…………………………… 39.22%…………………………. -3.64%
    Greens……. 10.72%……………………………. 9.25%…………………………….-1.47%
    Libs………… 30.42%……………………………. 17.16%………………………….. -13.26%

    Voters who supported the Liberals in the Lower House abandoned them in droves in the Senate…. All parties suffer a decrease in support in the UH as compared to the LH, but the drop for the Libs is one order of magnitude bigger!

  16. Alpo, in the Upper House the Liberals run as Liberals in the metro regions and Liberal/National on joint tickets in the others. The only way to actually compare vote share for the Coalition parties across the state is together. 35.19 Lower House, 29.43 Upper. Clearly they still have an issue there compared to Labor and the Greens. It would be possible to break it down by region and get a Liberal figure for each metro region but I haven’t done so yet.

  17. If Victorian Greens leader, Samantha Ratnam, has any shame she would resign as Victorian Greens leader. But that is not going to happen.
    1. She pre-selected candidates, who were involved in all sorts of scandals.
    2. She lost 4 upper house seats.
    3. Instead of solving the internal issues, she maintained an attitude of “there is nothing to see here” or saying that Greens person is on life journey.

  18. Blanket criticism, labor preferences got patten over the line

    She won no thanks to the greens whose preferences were going to justice above patten

    But do you care about the facts?

  19. https://www.pollbludger.net/2018/12/11/victorian-election-upper-house-finale/comment-page-2/#comment-3026102

    1. The leader does not preselect candidates in the Victorian Greens, it is not a dictatorship. There were certainly issues with preselection, but to blame in on a single person is inaccurate.

    2. The Greens` had a mainly good run with other parties` votes and preferences last time and a terrible one this time. The various campaign issues probably had a hand in the loss of Southern Metro, otherwise the factors were mainly outside the greens control.

    3. The main preselection issues emerged after the close of nominations, making impossible to solve the issues when the arose (which may well have been the intention of those drawing it to public attention), rather than manage them. The response may well have been significantly different if they had emerged before the close of nominations, leading to a better outcome. The response to the Footscray preselection issue was not a good response and may have hurt Samantha Ratnam`s leadership in the eyes of many voters who might vote Green in future. The response to the allegation against the Sandringham candidate, an end to the Greens campaign in Sandringham (effectively disendorsing the Greens candidate), was timely and taking the high road (to the point of potentially costing the Greens the seat in Southern Metro they lost narrowly).

    I do think that a leader in the Legislative Assembly, probably Ellen Sandel (given she has the highest margin Green seat in the Assembly), would be a good idea given the new balance of Green representation in the Victorian Parliament and that the leaders of the other major parties (ALP Liberal and National) are in the Legislative Assembly. However there is a risk that the upcoming redistribution, if it creates an extra seat in the inner-North to cover the population growth (it may just reorganise the seats to give population to surrounding under-quota seats), could reduce the Greens` margin in Melbourne by taking voters from the southern end of less Green friendly Essendon and gives them to Melbourne.

  20. Just a thought, but there are 11 LNP members of the LC and there are 11 stray cats on the cross bench. Assuming they can be herded, is there any possibility that one cat can become Oppo Leader? Can the OL be elected or is the position automatically occupied by the leader of the largest oppo party?

    Just imagine the fun Dan could have.

  21. Ross

    After the 2016 NT election, Labor had 18 seats, the CLP 2 and there were 5 independents.

    The CLP has been the official Opposition (leader and deputy leader!).

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/independents-wil-not-be-recognised-at-opposition-in-nt/7799786

    But recently three of the independents were making noises about joining forces to demand to be recognized as the official Opposition.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-26/former-clp-leaders-discuss-joining-nats-while-speaker-keeps-seat/10556402

  22. @ Ross: No. The status of the “official Opposition” is based purely on Lower House (i.e., Assembly) numbers – the relative party strengths in the Council have no impact on that.

    IIRC, there have been times where Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition have actually held majorities in upper houses – this period of uneasy cohabitation (between a Government-majority Lower House and the Opposition-majority Upper House) seldom lasts long…

  23. Matt @ 7:41 pm
    IIRC, there have been times where Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition have actually held majorities in upper houses

    Until Bracks’ landslide win in 2002, the ALP had never won a majority in the Legislative Council, and always had to deal with a hostile upper house when in government.

    Indeed, in 1947, the conservative majority in the Council forced the ALP government of John Cain snr to an election by withholding supply. The ALP lost the election, but the power of the Council at that time was such that its members didn’t have to face election themselves.

  24. Some fun stats:

    In both houses, there is the highest proportion of women in history. 34 of the 88 MLAs are women (38.6%), up from 32 (36.4%) which was the previous record. Meanwhile 19 of the 40 MLCs are women (47.5%) – I am fairly sure this is a record outside the ACT.

    Labor is close to parity in both houses (25/55 in the Assembly, over the line with 10/18 in the Council – this is not actually their record, as they had 8/14 in 1999). There are 4 Liberal women in each chamber (this is actually 40% of their MLCs), together with 3 National women (two in the Assembly, one in the Council). As a result, the Coalition is actually very close to parity in the Legislative Council (5/11).

    Among the crossbenchers, all the defeated Greens were women, so they now have equal numbers (2 men, 2 women). Two of the three independents are women, and in the upper house, 3/10 micro-party MLCs are women (Fiona Patten and two of the Hinch MLCs). Without the Druery preference-harvesting machine, the Legislative Council would almost certainly have been majority female.

    Robert Clark’s defeat in Box Hill severs the parliament’s last link with the 1980s. Kim Wells and Bruce Atkinson, both elected in 1992, are the new fathers of the parliament. (Bernie Finn was also first elected in 1992 to the lower house, but was then defeated in 1999 and was elected to the upper house in 2006.) There is only one other member who was in parliament during the Kennett government (David Davis), and only another five were in parliament during the 1990s (Jacinta Allan, Gavin Jennings, Jenny Mikakos, Gordon Rich-Phillips and Richard Wynne). It’s interesting to note that not a single Labor MP has experienced more than one term of opposition.

    In the Legislative Council, 15 of the 40 members are newcomers to the chamber.

  25. https://www.pollbludger.net/2018/12/11/victorian-election-upper-house-finale/comment-page-2/#comment-3026393

    The Legislative Council had independently fixed terms and separate elections until 1961. The ALP and 2 dissident Liberal/Electoral Reform League MLCs blocked supply in 1952, after the 1952 Legislative Council election where the ALP won 11 of the 17 (the ALP did a a supply and confidence deal to prop up a Country Party Government in 1950 in exchange for removing the property qualification for the Legislative Council), forcing the 1952 Legislative Assembly Election and then scrapping the rural weighting of the Legislative Assembly (but not the Legislative Council). The ALP were on course to probably gain a majority in June 1955, although this may have been derailed by the lack of redistribution in the Legislative Council, but the split intervened and mean the lost 6 MLCs to desertion and gained no seats in the 1955 Legislative Council election (other than the seat they regained from a Grouper deserter who lost their seat, the other 5 lost in 1958).

    The ALP won a majority in the Legislative Council 1985 but they provided the president (the first time they had done so, reducing their number by one) and their victory in Nunawadding Province (a tied result, decided in the ALP`s favour) was successfully challenged and the resulting election was won by a Liberal but the ALP had a non-absolute majority for about 3 week in 1985 and would have had an absolute majority the whole term, if they had persuaded a Liberal or National to be President.

    Although with the Council having 1 vote, 1 value provinces from 1985 and population growth in more ALP friendly areas, the old system was moving away from harming the ALP. The ALP would have held a majority in the 2006-2010 Legislative Council, the just elected Legislative Council and potentially the 2014-2018 Legislative Council but probably not the 2010-2014 Legislative Council.

  26. https://www.pollbludger.net/2018/12/11/victorian-election-upper-house-finale/comment-page-2/#comment-3026580

    The Legislative Council reforms implemented at the 2006 election removed 20 of the 44 sitting MLCs (with a further 2 transferring to the Legislative Assembly), reducing the availability of pre-2006 MLCs to still be in Parliament. The redistribution of where parties won MLCs, fewer in their higher vote areas and more in their lower vote areas, was a major cause (although it was how Bernie Finn`s parliamentary career was resurrected).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *