New South Wales election: late counting

A post progressively following the late counting in the New South Wales state election.

Thursday, March 28

I’ve been getting my head together the past few days, and have just checked the count for the first time in a while, specifically for the Legislative Council, where the votes are now being counted properly after the election night “initial count” that only gave us a clear sense of above-the-line votes for seven parties. With about 9% of the vote counted on what’s called the “progressive check count”, you would think we were looking at seven each for the Coalition and Labor, two for the Greens and one apiece for One Nation, Shooters, Keep Sydney Open and the Liberal Democrats, with the last seat a toss-up between Animal Justice, the Christian Democrats and Sustainable Australia. However, Kevin Bonham is doing a far better job than I am of keeping score, particularly in adjusting for the fact that the counts in some electorates are more advanced than others. His projections seem to suggest that the Coalition are going to take an eighth seat and that Labor is only assured of sixth; that Animal Justice, the Christian Democrats and Sustainable Australia are all unlikely to win a seat; and that the last three seats are a game of musical chairs between Labor’s #7, One Nation’s #2, Keep Sydney Open and the Liberal Democrats (i.e. David Leyonhjelm).

Tuesday, March 26

Whatever doubt remained about Dubbo, and by extension the government’s majority, was laid to rest yesterday by the 12,319 votes at the pre-poll voting centre in Dubbo, which broke 5493-4728 for Nationals candidate Dugald Saunders over independent Mathew Dickerson. With a further 4581 votes from smaller pre-polls, iVotes and postals breaking almost perfectly evenly, Saunders’ lead has increased from 186 to 960.

Sunday, March 24

I don’t have much of substance to offer yet, but this post will feature regular updates over the next week or two to follow the late counting in New South Wales. The Greens conceded defeat in Lismore yesterday, which surprised me a little, but obviously they would know things I don’t. Clearly then they will drop out at the last count and leave the final count as a race between Labor’s Janelle Saffin and Nationals candidate Austin Curtin (the Nationals incumbent, Thomas George, is retiring). On the notional two-candidate preferred count between the two, Saffin has a surely decisive lead of 3.9%.

Another seat where a Nationals incumbent is retiring, Dubbo, remains in doubt between Nationals candidate Dugald Saunders and independent Mathew Dickerson, with Saunders holding a 0.6% lead. Past history strongly indicates the independent will lose ground on late counting, so this seems very like to remain with the Nationals, but I will continue following the count. A Nationals win would ensure a majority for the government, assuming it stays ahead in East Hills, as it almost certainly will. I will also continue following Coogee, although Labor looks to have that in the bag, one of its only two gains.

Then there is the Legislative Council, to which I currently have nothing to add beyond what I said yesterday. Kevin Bonham has a good account here; no doubt there are others.

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.

66 comments on “New South Wales election: late counting”

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  1. The Greens conceding Lismore is irrelevant as it doesn’t change how the NSWEC performs the count and, unlikely that it seems, they could still end up winning the seat.

  2. Good morning,
    I unreservedly apologise to Pegasus and Gladys Berejiklian for my comments about them said on this forum yesterday and any hurt that may have been caused to them or others.

    That’s all I am going to say today. I have taken a vow of silence for one day.

  3. There is some preliminary release on the Mueller Report – grain of salt atm

    (((Rep. Nadler)))‏Verified account @RepJerryNadler

    “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”

  4. Party insiders have told the ABC Shadow Water Minister Chris Minns will run against Mr Daley, while Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay could also put her name forward for the top job.

    From comments on PB by transport ‘experts’, Jodi McKay’s promotion would not seem to be good news for NSW travellers/commuters.

  5. What are the chances of the greens finishing ahead of labor now? I think that if they do, most labor votes who just voted 1 will ensure the Nats hold the seat

  6. Seems like AJP and SA preferences are the only possible way Greens to get back in front in Lismore currently, and then possibly have ALP preferences expire rather than make sure the Nats are rolled. As per last time.
    Can’t see many AJP prefs going to ALP as greyhounds racing is a big issue for them and NSW ALP have been on the pro-greyhound racing bandwagon since Foley jumped on it against Baird.
    Might’ve been informals as much as anything that changed this time, gone from ~2% to ~3%. Intentional or not?
    Sustainable Aust might’ve drawn a few votes and who knows where their prefs might go, less likely to the majors I’d guess.
    The general level of disdain for politics and the major parties perhaps may increase the exhausted preferences. Though there was a broad local campaign to make sure people used their prefs to get the Nats out as well.
    After some pretty dirty and snarky flyers distributed around the north coast, Sussex St BS, there could have been less interest from some Greens in preferencing ALP after that, compared to last time too.

  7. In East Hills, did Keep Sydney Open direct preferences to anyone on their HTV?

    If the Coalition win narrowly there, KSO might have played a key role in securing a majority for the party that’s keeping Sydney closed.

    They ran in 42 seats (including mine, Macquarie Fields, where they outpolled the Greens) – but not in the seat of Sydney itself, where the laws they oppose have had the most impact.

  8. Oh my god – get a grip Unitary State. If you honestly believe that Murphy lost in 2019 because of a 2015 smear fine. How about this – why don’t you run him again in 2023 and see if the smear is washed through the electorate!!

  9. Or as Lucy mannering of the ALP said in the neighbouring Oakley. The Chinese was walking straight pass her in the days after the comments.

    Kogarah Oakley and east hill are neighbors seats that all swung to the liberals

  10. I’m quite surprised at this result. It goes against all recent history. Two term Liberal government of 8 years returned. No Liberal state government of this age has been returned since Victoria in 1979 .. that’s 40 years! And this against the backdrop of the federal shenanigans and the known effect of federal drag on state governments of the same complexion.. Also the evidence of the Orange and Wagga by-elections that were absolutely devastating, indicated severe risk for the coalition in the country. Just on random swing variation you would have expected a couple of their marginal country seats to fall.
    Its a disastrous election for the ALP to lose as the big transport projects will come online during the next term and the western metro will be started. With the ALP likely to be in power federally, the rural anger will also be redirected by the next election. This could set the LNP up for 16 years. Even if it doesn’t is gives them a clear 12 year spell which breaks the mould of the NSW as a Labor state.

    So what happened?

    # Appreciation for the public works undertaken by the Berejeklian Government, especially contrasted to the perceived dithering of the previous ALP government.

    # Much stronger memories of the previous ALP Government than expected.

    # Fear of a hung parliament with government relying on a rainbow coalition Greens, Shooters and assorted Independents. Remember how decisive this was in Tasmania last year and in the UK in 2015.

    # Overkill on stadiums. The Alan Jones thing worked, but then it was over-egged, especially standing in front of the stadium the day before the election. Made it seem Labor had no other issues on which to run. Perhaps even reinforced the view that at least things are being built now, in contrast to the previous government.

    # Deep mistrust of the ALP in traditional rural areas. The rise of the Shooters seems to have evaporated the ALP vote in many bush seats. Is this because of a reaction to identity politics or the Climate Change / coal issue. I’m not sure. But whatever it is, it is causing a lot of people to vote against their owns self interest. The ALP didn’t pick up a single bush seat except Lismore and that’s because of demographic change. Contrast with McKell or even Wran.

    # Daley’s last week. I think there has been an overemphasis on the comments and stumbles by Daley in the last week. Not that they didn’t have an impact, but its surely only part of the picture.
    The immigration comments may have made Coogee closer than expected and affected Kogarah – but there was already a strong Chinese Liberal candidate in place there who may have been generating a swing in any case! There was a swing to the ALP in Strathfield. I also don’t believe this issue was a negative outside the inner city and some parts of the Chinese community. Greens preferences seem to be flowing just as strongly to the ALP in Lismore as previously so if the comments didn’t have an impact on politically correct Green voters then they are hardly likely to have elsewhere.

    In the end though Labor didn’t miss out by much. A couple more seats, say Penrith and Upper Hunter which they only missed narrowly, would have pushed the LNP down to 45 and it would have been game on with jockying to form a government. So despite everything I don’t believe the expectation of an ALP win was incorrect. But the fabled campaigners of Sussex St really must ask themselves how they couldn’t translate the country disquiet into seats. Especially a low socio-economic seat like Goulburn with no sitting member.

  11. This is the statement from Keep Sydney Open from yesterday – they say they directed preferences to Labor ahead of Coalition

    “The NSW Election yesterday was a wild ride, and we could not be prouder of every single one of our candidates, support team and volunteers! We also want to thank our supporters around the state who believed in us enough to vote for us. We are humbled beyond words.

    Obviously, we are very disappointed that Gladys Berejiklian remains in power. Disappointed because so many of the issues and poor policy that we fight against comes from her government.

    Here’s some good news: the Legislative Council is still in mid-count! Keep Sydney Open is in the ‘other’ category, which is currently at 14.2%. Anything could happen but we are in with more than a fighting chance! A clearer result most likely won’t be known until late next week, possibly longer. It looks like preferences will come into play, so we will keep you posted as soon as we know the results.

    We’ve noticed a few comments suggesting that our involvement helped the Coalition to win. Let us be completely clear on this point: no. We preferenced Greens and Labor incumbents on our how-to-votes in every seat we contested, and when the seat was Liberal-held, we preferenced them last (unless there was a One Nation or Australian Conservative candidate running). We encouraged our voters to preference in videos, social posts, on our how-to-votes and in person through our volunteers.

    In fact, we are prepared to say our preferences led to the seat of Coogee changing from blue to red. Please look at the numbers and see for yourself. We are immensely proud of that achievement!

    In Macquarie Fields, our candidate is currently running third. In Vaucluse, our candidate is polling over 7% of the vote, leading to a big swing against the Liberals in one of their blue-chip seats. This suggests that we are earning votes from disaffected Liberal voters as well as from other progressive major and minor parties.

    East Hills is a difficult seat to read, and there are a number of possible determining factors including other minor parties and independents. Our care taken in tight seats extends to not running in the seat of Sydney, where our presence could have led to our ally and anti-lockout MP Alex Greenwich losing his seat to the Liberals.

    As a yardstick, minor parties rarely garner over 1% of the vote in their first election run. We are currently running at 3.1% across the 42 electorates we contested. In political spheres, this is forcing the majors to sit up and take notice. There is now a new player.

    Without more passionate voices in the Australian political sphere standing up and fighting for what they believe in, the major parties will remain complacent and be less challenged to prioritise the progressive policies for NSW that we believe are needed. New political voices question, challenge, innovate and push. The major parties have not been fighting hard enough or moving fast enough to wrangle the changes needed.

    When there is a brave new voice — there will always be those who try to criticise or thwart it and that is something we now understand is a reality of politics. We ask that the established parties reflect on their own stumbles in the campaign, or their internal conflicts for something to blame. As a first-time party made up of the youngest and most diverse candidates in NSW political history, we understand that we’re low-hanging fruit, but we demand to be celebrated for this, not attacked.

    The passion and hard work from every single person involved has been heart-wrenchingly inspirational. NSW is alive and kicking with so many talented, hard-working folk willing to get up and give their time for this amazing state. That sheer passion could easily be a story in itself.

    And thank you, again — our supporters and to those who voted for us. For without you, we would be nowhere. You have our promise that we will maintain our duty and keep this ball rolling. For just as one chapter closes, a new and exciting one is just beginning!”

    Rossa @ #11 Monday, March 25th, 2019 – 2:00 pm

    In East Hills, did Keep Sydney Open direct preferences to anyone on their HTV?

    If the Coalition win narrowly there, KSO might have played a key role in securing a majority for the party that’s keeping Sydney closed.

    They ran in 42 seats (including mine, Macquarie Fields, where they outpolled the Greens) – but not in the seat of Sydney itself, where the laws they oppose have had the most impact.

  12. “Its a disastrous election for the ALP to lose as the big transport projects will come online during the next term and the western metro will be started.”

    I think the abundance of half-finished projects across Sydney probably inclines people to want to maintain the same mob in charge to see them completed (even if they’re currently being run incredibly poorly). They originally intended for the light rail to be complete prior to the election; maybe its delay helped (of course the lack of any media scrutiny of the project (a mere block away from News Ltd in Surry Hills), and no outrage at a $600 million lawsuit settlement was a huge benefit).

    “But the fabled campaigners of Sussex St really must ask themselves how they couldn’t translate the country disquiet into seats. Especially a low socio-economic seat like Goulburn with no sitting member.”

    Country people aren’t going to vote Labor. And setting up or emphasising any kind of formal arrangement with the SFF would be toxic.

    Penrith was never realistically in play – a high profile minister on a 6% margin.

    I think not enough people make the right connections between inadequate services and the state government – for example, trains in Sydney are in a shocking shape, with delays and cancellations every single day – hardly ever reported, no mention of the lost productivity and what that costs the state economy each week.

  13. The Liberals have the same primary vote as Labor, yet Gladys is portrayed as some super popular hero…. Apparently they will help in the Federal election, like as if that will make any difference.

  14. liberals maybe gained a 100 votes net in one small prepoll booth in East Hills this is not enough to decide east hills…. does the abc have some extra info?

  15. Nicko

    While the ALP runs in every seats in the state, the liberals do not run in around 25 seats. Their coalition partners the nationals runs in those seats. So in reality the liberal/national actually received 10% more primary votes than the ALP

  16. The current 2pp count in East hills is actually 51.8 to the liberal. And the early vote is not breaking as good to the ALP as last time is the votes counted so far. Even if the prepoll falls the same way as last time. It will close to only 50.9 2pp. It is pretty much over

  17. ok how many absent? how many prepoll? and how many postal?
    still remain to be counted? the 51.8% does not include a lot of these
    Labor will do better in the prepoll than 2015

  18. The tally room have a estimate of what will be counted. And there are a lot of postals. Ben R thinks that the late vote will actually move to the liberals.

    Ben actually thinks the closest seat worth watching is coogee

  19. I still think there is a chance the Greens will end up ahead of labor in Lismore, thereby meaning the Nats would hold the seat if this transpires

  20. I’ve just had a close look at East Hills and I project the Liberals to win by over 1000. Got a bit tripped up by East Hills prepoll being much smaller last time than this time, probably the new Revesby prepoll captured a lot of that.

    Re federal drag, I think a lot of it comes from voters liking the fighting tension and disaggregation of power that comes from having different parties in power at state and federal levels. Such voters, consciously or subconsciously, might reason that since the federal government is about to lose anyway, they may as well keep the Coalition in at state level.

  21. Also with the angst at Turnbull sacking – the NSW govt being friendly to Turnbull a vote for the Govt by Turnbull supporters made at least as much sense as voting against them. A bit different to the Victorian Libs.

  22. Currently ABC has the Liberal up in Coogee with 2pp of 50.2. This is not backed up in the NSwEC website. Was this the counting of postals?

  23. Wow, had no idea counting would continue so late past 5pm! If LNP, PHON, CDP, LDP, ALP and AJP all got their maximum possible 20 seats, KSO (starting on 0.552) would have to fall below SUS (currently on 0.363) to miss out on the final seat right, a sizable drop. Seems like it’s still very early days though, the current quota you give is only 6% of 2015’s. Will the check count keep motoring along like this all day tomorrow?

  24. Check count has been slow today.

    Nick Casmirri suggested that the big dump last night was probably iVotes, which would explain a bunch of leftish micros going through the roof. They’re now gradually dropping back but where KSO will land is difficult to say.

  25. “His projections seem to suggest that the Coalition are going to take an eighth seat and that Labor is only assured of sixth; that Animal Justice, the Christian Democrats and Sustainable Australia are all unlikely to win a seat; and that the last three seats are a game of musical chairs between Labor’s #7, One Nation’s #2, Keep Sydney Open and the Liberal Democrats (i.e. David Leyonhjelm).”

    Yep. And I would be most nervous in KSO’s position here as I am not seeing evidence that outside of iVotes they can exceed 2% consistently in the count.

  26. So is the ABC’s count nonsense then?

    They have Lib/Lab both on 7, with 2 greens, 1 each for a bunch of micros, and only 1 left in doubt.

  27. The ABC’s “seats won” column is nonsense – all those parties might win, but it would be very premature to call them at this stage. The count they’re using there is the check count, but the check count is a biased sample in at least two ways (i) it includes all the iVotes and (ii) the seats with the highest %s counted in it are severely dominated by Labor seats. Hence the majors are both on 30-ish but we know from the main count that when it settles down the Coalition will be 5-6 points ahead. The ABC has generally been getting better at displaying appropriate disclaimers and explanations on election pages but this one isn’t up to scratch.

  28. Presumably when the website was being redesigned Antony wasn’t expecting much focus on the LC, and there hasn’t been, which is surprising given the LNP are going to lose 3-4 seats and already rely on the crossbench. Legislation negotiated between 17 Coalition, 2 Shooters, 2 Fred Nile and Mark Latham… I do so hope you’re wrong about that 8th LNP seat being almost a lock.

  29. I figure there’s about 600K votes to come in to the main count, maybe not quite that many. I project the Coalition is on about 35% primary in the main count as adjusted for BTLs and informals. They’d have to get no more than about 28% in what remains (I think it’s mostly absents which are bad for them and postals which are good for them) to be at risk of losing.

  30. Alternatively perhaps Kevin, what do you think are the odds of Labor leaping over both 1st CDP and 2nd PHON so the final four seats run as: 8th Coalition, 1st KSO, 1st Lib Dems and 7th Labor? That would leave a Liberal-National-Shooters-Fred Nile-Mark Latham coalition stuck at 21 votes.

  31. The coalition may have 17, 2 shooters, 1 Nile, 1 Latham and 1 LIB Dem ( you forgot them) gives 22 for the right against 20 for the left. Still will be a nightmare for the Coalition dealing with 4 parties.
    In East Hills the Libs lead by 607 votes with around 1300 votes for Absent, Provisional and Postals need the 2PP to be finalised. The primary votes are done and the ABC are estimating a lead of around 517 for the Libs once the 2pp is done for these 1300 votes.

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