New South Wales election: the morning after

A quick and dirty review to an election result that proved surprisingly similar to the one in 2015.

I lack the energy to offer much in the way of a post-mortem at this late hour, except to say this was a remarkably status quo result. The Coalition dropped around 3% on the statewide primary vote, and Labor and the Greens about 1% apiece, so presumably the Coalition landed somewhere between 53% and 54% on the two-party vote. This is a couple of points better than the polls suggested, making this the first election result in a very long time that surprised on the up side for the Coalition (UPDATE: Thanks to NathanA in comments for jogging my memory about Tasmania last year). To a certain extent, that might be explained in terms of the Newspoll, with its Tuesday to Thursday field work period, only picking up part of a final week shift away from Labor – although it doesn’t explain an exit poll that was in line with the two-party result.

The Coalition went into the election needing to restrict its losses to six to retain its majority, and it is only clear that they have lost three. Two of these losses were to Shooters Fishers and Farmers, who had a rather spectacular night in picking up all three of their target seats, with Barwon and Murray joining their existing seat of Orange (I was suggesting the Nationals were more likely to retain Barwon quite late in my election night commentary, but they actually have a very handy lead there). Labor’s only clear gain is Coogee, which they now look to have in the bag, although by a lower than expected margin. It looks like they will fall short in East Hills and Penrith, but I will keep an eye on those all the same. Independent Mathew Dickerson has come close against the Nationals in Dubbo, but he is slightly behind and independents tend to lose ground in late counting.

The one seat on which I have crunched numbers is Lismore, which is likely but not certain to be lost by the Nationals. The question is whether it will be lost to Labor, who lead the notional two-party candidate, or the Greens, who had an unexpectedly good night despite the drop in their statewide vote, retaining their three existing seats of Balmain, Newtown and Ballina, and being well in the hunt in Lismore to boot. The two-party count has Labor with a lead of 1840, which looks too much for the Nationals to reel in – they should gain about 500 when pre-polls that have thus far been counted only on the primary vote are added, and the 2015 results suggest they will gain a further couple of hundred when absents and postals are added. However, Labor candidate Janelle Saffin holds a lead of just 24.85% to 23.90% over the Greens, and the race to stay ahead at the last exclusion could go either way. If the Greens win, they will certainly get enough preferences from Labor to defeat the Nationals UPDATE: Didn’t have my thinking cap on there – they may very well fail to get enough Labor preferences to do so.

The basic election night count for the Legislative Council accounts for 48.4% of enrolled voters, and only provides specific results for above-the-line votes for seven parties, when an “others” total that lumps together above-the-line votes for all other parties, and below-the-line voters for all and sundry. The only votes identified as informal at this point are those ballot papers that were left entirely blank – less obviously informal votes are presently in the “others” pile. Disregarding that complication, the current numbers show a clear seven quotas for the Coalition, six for Labor, two for the Greens, one apiece for One Nation and Shooters, leaving four to be accounted for.

The Coalition has enough of a surplus to be in the hunt for one of those; Labor probably doesn’t; One Nation look in the hunt for a second seat; the Christian Democrats and Animal Justice are both possibilities. The wild card is that three quotas under “others”, which would maybe a third of a quota’s worth of below-the-line votes for the seven main parties. My very late night feeling is that the Liberal Democrats (i.e. David Leyonhjelm), Australian Conservatives and Keep Sydney Open might all be in contention.

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.

687 comments on “New South Wales election: the morning after”

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  1. So what went wrong, and where could Labor have done it better?
    They chose to make Michael Daley the centrepiece of the campaign. This ‘Messiah’ method requires that person to be squeaky clean, articulate, and on top of all the details.
    He fell at two of the hurdles in the final straight, and, since he had not made it a team effort, was unable to be rescued.
    Media bias finished him off.
    The ‘racism’ gaff was replayed every day, context-free, disproportionately swamping every other issue. The bias is like a gerrymander, requiring Labor to perform far better than the all the others just to even things up.

    Nonetheless I believe he has the potential to do better. He should use his shadow ministers more, allowing them to raise their profiles and articulate where they, and the party, stand, every time this minority government blunders.
    And it will.

  2. Josh Bornstein @JoshBBornstein

    Just before I say goodnight, I will leave you with one further thought.
    Latham has the protection of parliamentary privilege for the next 8 years.

  3. Sydney is all about house prices. Besides superannuation, houses represent the largest asset held by the overwhelming majority of people. Credit cards balances are at record levels.
    House prices have fallen and the voters don’t trust Labor to stop the fall of house prices.
    Daley’s last week was no worse than Gladys’ every other week. The two newspaper/TV conglomerates had a massive influence on this election.
    The ABC is a cowered shadow of its former self. Ths ABC presenters and commentators are over financially rewarded and mimic the best of the aspirationals.
    The reality is no political party or personality went anywhere.
    Sydney remains congested, the trains chaotic and people with Asian backgrounds hardly a recent phenomenon.
    The rivers run dry with the bush split between the haves and havenots.
    Labor just did not offer anything to cause a change.
    A disappointing result but hardly surprising given the dearth of quality in yesterday’s election.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Lisa Visentin looks at Daley’s future.
    Peter FitzSimons recons the federal brand was a key reason for Berejiklian’s near-death experience.
    Kathrine Murphy says that while the Liberals may take some joy from the result in NSW, the poor showing for the Nationals is set to inflame Coalition divisions and leadership speculation
    And Anne Davies writes that the NSW results show all the major parties are vulnerable to the loss of their traditional bases and competition from independents
    Michael Koziol tells us that there’s a reason the PM lacked credibility when facing off against Waleed Aly.
    Despite showing sympathy for the victims of the Christchurch attack, Scott Morrison’s past anti-Muslim rhetoric is not forgotten, writes James Fitzgerald.,12496
    More from FitzSimons as he writes about the curious case of the PM, Waleed and the Muslim question.
    In the shadow of atrocity, New Zealand’s Prime Minister has demonstrated the power of a few well – chosen words, and of letting actions speak loudest says Helen Pitt.
    Laura Chung previews tomorrow nights Waleed Aly interview with Ardern.
    Liam Mannix tells us how big pharma gets what it wants. He says an investigation by The Age revealed Pfizer’s ‘safe, non-addictive’ nerve-pain pill was highly addictive, dangerous when taken with other drugs, and came with a range of nasty side-effects – including suicidal thoughts.
    Paul Sakkal reveals that Tim Wilson sent 6000 unsolicited letters to superannuation trustees, including thousands who live outside his electorate, encouraging them to sign up to a Liberal party campaign against Labor’s franking credits policy, potentially putting him in breach of parliamentary spending guidelines.
    Barbra Streisand has sparked outrage for comments she made about two men who have accused Michael Jackson of sexually assaulting them as children. She hasn’t aged well.
    Sam Hurley writes that climate change is reshaping Australia’s economy and financial system, and its consequences will be devastating without urgent action. If that message had not hit home, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s intervention last week made it clear. The heavyweights are now speaking with one voice.
    In this week’s roundup, John Wren grapples with the pure senselessness of the Christchurch tragedy, imploring all to take action against the seeds of racism and hate.,12498
    John Collett explains how a federal government reform meant to help consumers more easily compare hospital health insurance policies is instead creating confusion for consumers.
    Caitlin Fitzsimmons writes that Assies don’t regret the time we spend at work and we gain most of our sense of self-worth from our paid jobs.
    On the other hand none of us have to work. But the alternative is generally worse, writes Jim Bright.
    Numerous votes have been quarantined in one of NSW’s most marginal seats after a volunteer working for a political party issued ballot papers to Strathfield voters in an election day bungle. A top effort that!
    What the last week tells us about Theresa May’s state of mind.
    With independent media on the rise, author and commentator, Kim Wingerei, who has just launched the Independents, looks at the top performers. Traffic for this website is up 60 per cent. Why? Perhaps, as Tim Dunlop observed on Twitter this week: “@MichaelWestBiz had found his own niche – actual f…ing news”.
    Matthew Knott looks at what might be in Mueller’s report whose contents could be released as early as this weekend. He says Trump will emerge with one of two outcomes: vindication or disaster. An anxious America holds its breath.
    Reuters reports that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is cooperating with a wide-ranging probe by the US House Judiciary Committee into Trump and possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power, a person knowledgeable about the matter said on Friday.
    A West Australian priest has been found dead after being alerted that he was under investigation over child sex-abuse allegations. Catholic priest Father Joseph Tran was found dead, with reports in Western Australia saying he died by his own hand.

    Cartoon Corner

    From Matt Golding.

    Zanetti pretty well sums up the NSW election.

    From the US

  5. The libs/nats combined primary was better then i expected , another note

    It seems the coalition supporters don’t give one iota whether its a libs/nats majority or minority government f

  6. What people are saying about Michael Daley this morning is what they would have been saying about Daniel Andrews, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Steve Bracks, and (dare I say it) from this end of Australasia, Jacinda Ardern on their “Mornings After”, had they lost: nice try but really a bit if a boring second rate candidate with too many gaffes, too little charisma and insufficient experience.

    I don’t buy it. Daley went for broke challenging Jones (it sickens me to even write that, because who is Jones anyway?), promised to stop the waste of billions of dollars on unnecessary stadiums bring built as vanity monuments to the Rum Corps that thinks it runs NSW) , and generally came across as a decent man trying to end the sell-off of NSW.

    Mere reporters – reporters, not commentators – routinely presented as factual “news” that he was unelectable, hopeless, had a horror week etc. The commentators and editorial writers did what they usually do: recommended a vote for the Coalition.

    The entire media was against Daley. Even when he scored big on the demolitions, they noted it more in sorrow for Berejiklian than in anger against her.

    I do agree that Labor seemed unprepared for the campaign. Maybe it was due to the loss of Foley so late in the piece (and not having enough time to get Daley fully up to speed on all the details). Blame the Party – the legendary “Sussex St” – for that, not the man.

    It had very little to do with Daley’s “race” comments. It’s hard to find anyone in Sydney who disagrees with him, especially in the suburbs that have been turned into Little Hong Kongs full of apartments and overpriced housing. I saw it myself with the suburb I lived in. It was flipped on its head from a nice leafy place with beautiful bush, a sense of amenity and community, with room for kids to play, into a madhouse of concrete, tunnels, B-doubles and apartment complexes in 10 short years.

    Pontifications from interstate don’t count. Live the experience first, see the change from beautiful place to commuter hell, fenced in on all sides by public assets flogged off to Lib donors and mates, housing newcomers with far more money than sense, residents of decades duration moving out. And then come and tell me that Daley was wrong about why it’s happening. A quicker solution would be to just talk to the real estate agents in those areas. They’ll set you right soon enough. They profited from it, until they didn’t.

    Daley’s Party may have deserved to lose, but not Daley. He played the hand that was dealt to him. It just wasn’t much of a hand.

    Clean out Sussex St first before you hang Daley.

  7. Jodi McKay’s performance on the ABC was woeful, she was evasive and divorced from reality, hardly a winner. Not half the charm, honesty or grace of the poor Liberal bugger who lost his seat at the Victorian state election while on the ABC panel, John something iirc. It must have been awkward for Linda Burney sitting beside her…

  8. Bugger. The second-rate Sydney spivs survive, like a leaking inflatable Mardi Gras Big Mandy float. I wonder who they’ll eat when the Unreal Estate money runs out?

  9. I do have to laugh at the pro coalition media hacks,claiming the good result for the nsw state libs/nats would boost the federal libs/nats.

    What the pro coalition media hacks deliberately ignored is, that there was still a drop in the nsw libs/nats combined primary vote and lost of seats

  10. I love how the SMH only admits NOW that the Coalition campaign was “negative and dirty”. Printed in the paper that shamelessly spruiked the negativity and dirt. Well done, SMH. Give yourself a pat on the back.

    Come to think of it, you already have, written by Alexandra Smith, the “reporter” who shoveled most of the shit…

    Of course, just in case we were thinking otherwise, Gladys herself had nothing to do with any of it. If only she had known…

  11. Bushfire Bill

    But Bushfire, tower blocks of dog boxes for as far as the eye can see is the way of the future it is how people want to live today………………………….apparently 🙁

  12. lizzie @ #3 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 5:48 am

    Josh Bornstein @JoshBBornstein

    Just before I say goodnight, I will leave you with one further thought.
    Latham has the protection of parliamentary privilege for the next 8 years.

    Worse still, Scomo tried to bath in the glory of the NSW election win by stepping up to the podium at the NSW celebration BEFORE Daley had publicly conceded and BEFORE Gladys made her victory speech. At that point, just before he spoke, my wife turned 0ff the TV and used words I’ve never heard her use before except in the throws of giving birth.

    I’m putting a full stop on the NSW election right here . and moving on to the big game in May. Thank you William for your efforts last night and those that canvassed for progressives.

  13. Sitting at a table next to some Kiwi locals last night and chatting, here in beautiful downtown Akorea, I couldn’t help but be impressed with their determination to see the Christchurch Terrorist deported back to Australia.

    Boot, meet OTHER foot!

  14. Good morning and thanks to BK for the Dawn Patrol.

    I had the pleasure yesterday of attending the local voting booth with my son-in-law and a grandson. The SIL proudly attends to save the cost of a fine and I don’t ask him why he doesn’t vote (flat earth etc). I don’t know if the grandson voted or just attended. My favourite daughter asked me a couple of days ago who she should vote for – I gave her my opinion but am sad she doesn’t have one of her own.

    How many are like this I wonder – don’t know or care what is happening to our country although, to be more or less fair, the MSM with slanted if not complete BS are not much help.

    End of small rant – long rant to follow. 😎☕

  15. Re Lismore it is Antony greens view that If you look at past exhaustion and late vote pattern if the alp finish 2nd the alp will win the seat. If the green finish 2nd the national will win. The Alp vote will more likely exhaust

  16. As I mentioned yesterday, some people hate minority and so yesterday would have swung behind the Coalition due to the media coverage of a) likelihood of minority government and b) the Coalition being marginally ahead going in.

    Where did it go wrong for Labor? I’d say right from leadership selection in not holding a contested leadership contest to allow the membership a say. The contested leadership contest for Federal Labor is as the best thing that has happened for them and it is time for this to happen at a state level.

    It’s not just the process, but it also massively raises the profile of the candidates in the media, giving the winner a boost before they even start their job. I expect Daley would have won a contested leadership contest, but would have been a better leader for the experience.

  17. Swings in retained seats; (4 unknown)
    Libs: 34 seats retained; 8 swing to them, 22 to ALP, 2 to GRN, 2 to IND
    Nat: 12 seats retained: 8 swing to them, 4 to ALP
    ALP: 33 seats retained (ignoring 2 gain): 24 swing to them, 9 to LNP, 1 to NAT, 1 to IND
    GRN: 3 seats retained: 3 swings to them

    LIB increased their margin in 23% of their seats
    NAT increased their margin in 67% of their seats
    ALP increased their margin in 72% of their seats
    GRN increased their margin in 100% of their seats;

    It dont know how this compares to other elections, but it seems the NSW electorate is becoming more polarized.

    Interesting that the only seats non-GRN seats that swung to GRN where in LIB seats, no ALP seats swung GRN.
    Despite all the doom and gloom about NAT, they are still very secure.

    I wonder if this can be generalized as a tactical flaw in Labors seat targeting (as well as policy development) ?

  18. Oh it is so much more pretty than here

    When Kiwis say deport the mass murderer to Australia to do time here
    1 I hope he does the whole sentence, not in Grafton
    2 let’s remember that 1500 dangerous criminals are imprisoned on Christmas Island waiting deportation to NZ for crimes like drug use, failure to pay fines, being Maori or Samoan factory workers

  19. The focus can now be on the federal election , the media has shown their hand like in every election , personal attacks , propaganda and smear ,dirt footage on any Labor , the greens or non coalition allied minor parties/ independent .

    The libs/nats will be protected by the media

  20. ‘Jodi McKay’s performance on the ABC was woeful, she was evasive and divorced from reality, hardly a winner’


  21. Well a nothingburger result, only 4 seats lost by the Coalition, leaving them with a paper thin 1 or 2 seat majority. Dubbo looks gone for the Indie, given a huge prepoll which will favour the Nat, and East Hills probably the same, but less so.

    It is hard to put a line from NSW with its OPV and high exhustion rate, through to Federal election with compulsory -preferencing; for example exhaustion rates:

    25% Dubbo
    10% East Hills

    However of the NSW marginals, I can still see a bag flipping in the main event

    Gilmore 0.7 – parachuted Warren Mundine
    Robertson 1.1 – national swing
    Banks 1.4 – national swing
    Page 2.3 – sea/tree changers
    Reid 4.7 – parachuted Stan Grant
    Warringah 11.1 – vote Tony out

  22. From the BK files.
    Michael Koziol tells us that there’s a reason the PM lacked credibility when facing off against Waleed Aly.

    There’s a particular posture Scott Morrison adopts when he’s pushing back in an interview. He leans back in his chair, clasps his hands together and crosses one leg over the other. Often his voice will pitch up in tone or he’ll adopt an air of incredulity, as if signalling the question is stupid or the answer obvious. Sometimes he’s probably right.

    Troops ❗ Troops ❗ Properly at attention now – ABOUT — wait for it —-wait for it – — TURN ❗
    Sorry Outline not working for this item.

    There’s no ‘harmony’ in Waleed Aly’s sanctimonious sermons
    Miranda Devine

    It was a bad idea for the Prime Minister to submit to a televised interrogation by Channel 10’s chief narcissist Waleed Aly last week.

    The 30-minute interview on the *jejune panel show The Project was a set-up, from the silky insolence of Aly to the slumping chair ­designed to make a middle-aged man look sloppy.

    Call that a slumpy chair —- these are real slumpy chairs.

    While I freely admit that Mr. Morrison possibly needs advice/training regarding Prime Ministerial deportment – forcing him into a slumpy chair was one step too far and whoever stole his tie deserves a damn good talking to and how dare he be presented looking sloppy.

    Fall out – report back in 20 minutes with full kit ready for a 20 mile route march to the local pub and back.

    P.S. To complete the interview – I think an appropriately qualified signer – sitting slumped – would have completed the tableau.

    P.P.S. * Jejune – in this context probably intended to suggest that the audience is comprised of dickheads/dullards/childish —– Not to be used by inexperience bullshit artists.

  23. Lismore shows how important it is, from a left-of-centre or progressive perspective, that Labor and Greens voters to preference each other and not allow their votes to exhaust, if their competition against each other for a seat where the Coalition is also competitive is not to gift that seat to the Coalition.

    If the Nats lose Lismore, as currently looks likely, that will be because Labor and Greens voters there never lost sight of who the danger to good, honest, sustainable government is. They will have ignored the sort of jousting that Labor and Greens partisans often indulge in against each other.

    As often happens, the voters will have shown the political in-crowd how to do things. The Nat’s loss of Lismore, as looks likely, will be a rare bright spot for the left in this otherwise somewhat grim election.

  24. Can the Progressive Left PLEASE enlist someone as snarky as the not very divine Miss Malodorous Miranda!?! When are Labor going to learn that nice guys finish last!?! But you have to know exactly HOW to get down and dirty successfully, and at the moment Labor can’t seem to buy a clue about it.

    This is the new world of communication. John Safran gets it:

    Maybe Labor should get him on the payroll for a start.

  25. Posters here don’t seem to understand how hard it is to get a big swing.

    A swing in the 6-7% range, statewide, would have been gobsmacking.

    I remember Labor under Kennett getting a swing to it of something in the 2-3% range. New to politics, I thought this was a dismal effort – in fact, at the time, it was a record swing to an Opposition in its first term.

    Governments in Australia usually sit on around 51% of the vote, which usually means only a small swing is required.

    Getting 6-7% at the individual seat level happens more often, but it’s usually to do with particular issues to do with that individual seat rather than being an indication of something wider.

  26. jenauthor @ #31 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 8:52 am

    Stan Grant here in Reid? Where did that come from?

    The Liberals wanting a Wow! candidate to suck all the oxygen away from Sam Crosby.

    I think it follows the new Republican tactic of co-opting those demographics that have traditionally voted against you. It looks like they ‘get’ inclusiveness.

  27. The result in NSW is a shame for

    the Murray Darling Basin
    public schools
    public hospitals
    refuges for women escaping domestic violence
    inhabitants west of Harbour Bridge

  28. BK, why so many cartoons supporting the false narrative of John McCain as a “war hero”? Anyone who drops bombs on civilians from a great height is a war criminal and the complete opposite of a hero.

    John McCain never saw a war he didn’t like and relentlessly campaigned for US aggression and intervention during his time in the Senate. Not the least being his cheer-leading for the illegal invasion of Iraq. It’s amazing how Trump Derangement Syndrome has turned so many people into defenders of McCain’s legacy of war-mongering and nihilism.

  29. I dont know why the media is calling it a win for the libs/nats who were already in government (caretakers) at the election
    Losing seats which could leave a slight majority or minority it is not really a win, it is retaining office , for the opposition they did not lose the election because they are already opposition they cannot lose something which they did not hold ,they couldn’t win to get into government .

  30. Another way to put it , if the libs/nats do go from majority to minority , that is a more of a lost then a win.

    The current government was retained

  31. NSW state election result nowhere near as exciting as State Vic result. Thems the breaks.
    Hopefully a different result for federal Labor soon!

  32. Colour me surprised. Not….

    Bevan Shields Retweeted

    Tim Shipman
    BREAKING: A full blown cabinet coup is under way tonight to remove Theresa May as prime minister
    8:15 AM · Mar 24, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone

  33. My take on the final result is that Labor was always going to struggle to win, Incumbency can be powerful (and the NSW libs look reasonably sane and competent compared to their counterparts elsewhere) and all that needs to be done is plant a seed of doubt about the alternative. Daley helped plant that seed, but the partisan media watered it and fed it with bullshit. NSW voters are conservative and there is a generation of voters who can’t forgive them their corruption and incompetence during their last term. The miracle is that state NSW is relatively moderate compared to the nasty right wingers the fed libs has produced.

    There are lessons for the Federal ALP here and they need to be ready to counter a very biased and coordinated media onslaught. They might even want to publicly predict that this will happen – and possibly make media bias, collusion and accountability an election issue so they can call out every instance.

    People have doubts about Shorten, and the LNP and media allies will draw on these heavily. I am heartened by the fact that shorten almost beat turnbull last time, and the evidence is that turnbull was propping up the lib vote by at least 1-2% points. But I also worry that turnbull did not feel the need (and was possibly too decent) to run a really nasty personal attack add campaign. Morrison has not problem with this or lying. It will be brutal and I worry shorten will struggle to counter it.

    The next round of federal polls will be interesting.

    The nats civil war will be in full flight after the NSW result, so expect barnaby to make his move soon.

    also – how many days until Latham leaves PHON and forms the Mark Latham Party? He needs a new category of Labor Rat invented for him. I vote for ” Minamata Rat” – Minamata is the japanese fishing village where cats and rats feeding on fish waste from polluted Minamata bay started to show signs of mercury madness/poisoning and “dancing” around in a crazed uncoordinated manner.

  34. Bevan Shields
    Stan Grant turns down Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s offer for him to run in Reid at the federal election

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