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 thoughts on “New South Wales election: the morning after”

  1. And if you didn’t freeze when you were sexually assaulted? What does that make you, if by freezing you become a saint?

  2. Peg….I agree with you. All too often the reflex is to ‘blame the victim’. It takes an awful lot of introspection and self-talk to learn to say ‘This was done to me, not by me.’ Those who have not experienced abuse – fortunately for them – cannot really know the effects it has, both at the time and subsequently.

  3. nath says:
    Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 6:47 pm
    I think that’s pretty self explanatory TPOF.


    I Didn’t ask you. And your response is not worth the cyberspace.

  4. C@tmomma @ #495 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 3:44 pm

    Confessions @ #484 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 6:40 pm

    Good lord, it sounds like Rod Bowers of the Gosford Anglican Parish is going to run for the Senate!

    He said he was going to months ago. And has wanted to ever since I have known him, since the 2014 Horror Budget and the March in March protests against it, but he was building his national profile first.

    His service today was in respect to the Christchurch terrorism, and the comments on his Facebook page are all congratulating him on running for the Senate. I don’t have the wherewithall to sit through the 20mins of a religious sermon to hear if he announced during the service, but from comments on the Fb page he must have.

  5. While I do not in any way condone the stupid remarks by the NSW opposition leader at Katoomba, someone above said “he wanted to be premier”

    At that point, he was a mere backbencher unlikely to be leader.

  6. C@t:

    And if you didn’t freeze when you were sexually assaulted? What does that make you, if by freezing you become a saint?

    One of the vilest things I’ve ever read on this site. WB, hoping you delete the entire exchange (and this too).

  7. jenauthor @ #506 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 6:53 pm

    While I do not in any way condone the stupid remarks by the NSW opposition leader at Katoomba, someone above said “he wanted to be premier”

    At that point, he was a mere backbencher unlikely to be leader.

    He was Deputy Leader at the time and rightly should have been more circumspect if there were recording devices around.

  8. it might have been said but i missed it

    but a core problem in election was labor’s strange association with a minor party called “the shooters” – for every vote the latter attract there are 10 or more who would not touch the brand

    christchurch killed labor and howard was the undertaker

    there was street talk that a vote for labor could put a shooter into parliament

    also, daley cannot speak, he is fragmented, mumbling and often incoherent – at least when i’ve seen him

    it’s a pity because labor had a really good case to be govt, starting with tafe and going on

  9. I’m not even gonna refer to what C@t said because Frickeg said it best.

    I will repeat that with C@t campaigning for the ALP, no wonder they can’t win in NSW. She would be frightening the children and the tradesmen.

  10. Yes, delete, it, whatever. I just found using one’s own sexual assault as an excuse to yet again attack Labor equally objectionable. However, that appears to be okay, so, as I said, do whatever is necessary.

  11. nath @ #515 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 6:58 pm

    I’m not even gonna refer to what C@t said because Frickeg said it best.

    I will repeat that with C@t campaigning for the ALP, no wonder they can’t win in NSW. She would be frightening the children and the tradesmen.

    Yes, that’s right. Pile on me because I had the guts to say that not every woman who has been sexually assaulted collapses emotionally because of it.

  12. hungry jack – I had a friend who emailed me and asked whether the shooters would be forming a government with Labor. I think you’re right. The whole shooters connection went down VERY badly.

  13. hungry jack….I would feel particularly insulted if WA Labor were to do deals with the SFF over here. They are the deep and dark backwoods of political life. And they are an instrument of the gun-making industry. They are off-limits, in the same way as ON is off-limits.

  14. Water is going to be a massive issue for the federal election.

    The SFF could really capitalise at the Coalitions expense.

  15. ‘jenauthor says:
    Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    While I do not in any way condone the stupid remarks by the NSW opposition leader at Katoomba,…’

    Do you mean that the racist remarks were stupid as well as racist or that the remarks were stupid because they were racist?

  16. by seeking to link every person on the right with some deranged white supremacist terrorist

    The bloke was Australian, we are all linked to him, he was one of us. Not difficult.

    That link gets stronger where you are in the party that has weaponized islamaphobia and racism for political advantages, at least since Howard won an election on a deliberate racist lie. He played a racist card and won. We are all linked to this train of hate.

    Australia is responsible for the torture camps on Manus and Nauru. Both Labor and Liberal supported them explicitly and the greens worked tirelessly to ensure there was no other workable solution. We are all linked to this hate.

    An Australian senator came out on the day of the tragedy and blamed the victims. He came out three days later at a neo nazi rally and blamed the victims.

    We spent 4 days defending him from a lack of civility. We are all linked to this hate.

    Those with the closest and longest links, Murdochs Fox / Sky / News sewer of hate, and the LNP in Australia then joined with some really weak ALP minds to try and blame social media and almost all of Australia was delighted to ‘look over there.’ We are all linked to this hate, but noone is more closely linked to the hate than Dutton, Morrison, Turnbull and Abbott. They led the party that weaponized hate and division as a political tool, but within the LNP there were zero voices of dissent. In fact there were very few voices of dissent from the ALP. We are all linked to this hate and the 50 deaths it brought, but some more than others.

  17. ‘by seeking to link every person on the right with some deranged white supremacist terrorist’

    I can’t recall ANY person on the Right decrying Islamophobic dogwhistling. Ever.

  18. christchurch killed labor and howard was the undertaker

    there was street talk that a vote for labor could put a shooter into parliament

    This result is on the voters. If they were that dumb they’ve got just the Govt they deserve.

  19. @WeWantPaul

    For that we have One Nation and Mark Latham instead.

    People are fucking stupid when they could have protest voted Greens.

    But noo status quo instead.

  20. Depressing.


    #auspol #nswdecides Please tell me this isn’t true Grafton NSW birth place of #Christchurch killer voted Latham One Nation racist scum more than any other polling booth in NSW ?

  21. Gp @3.38pm you did not answer my question about the regional pamphlet….do you think it was false and over the top ? Would you hand it out?

  22. And who wears an undone-at-the-back-to-your-arse dress to a function like this, anyway?

    I’m not saying she was asking for it

    Are… are you sure?

  23. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    nath @ #528 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 7:11 pm

    Gee Lismore is getting more and more interesting. Greens still could get it.

    Holding the 3 was surprising but 4 seats would be miraculous all things considered.
    Yes 4 would be terrific. And I suppose Sydney would make that 5 if Greenwich was not running? I assume the Greens would be a big chance if he wasn’t running.

  24. “Your side of politics will suffer a lot of pain at the ballot box by seeking to link every person on the right with some deranged white supremacist terrorist. It was frankly an appalling sight to witness every left wing journalist and participant on social media do everything possible to politicise the brutal death of 50 people whilst their bodies were still warm! Disgraceful.”

    Yeah, right. So appalling. How righteous of you when you spew the hate and take no responsibility.

    You RWNJs laughed yourself stupid and already had the RWNJ media lined up to espouse just that. Hope you’re proud of the filth you propogate/support.

  25. Generic Person @ #299 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:00 pm

    Regarding the racist comments of Daley, they did not get enough media attention in my view.

    Blame the media for that. They could have raised the point months ago and allowed a full and thorough debate to run its course. Instead they decided they’d rather wait and drop it a few days out from an election.

    The timing makes it an obvious smear campaign. Both Daley and the media disappoint, in my view. Though only Daley’s disappointment was unexpected.

  26. Anyone here actually going to miss Michael Daley if he gets replaced as Labor leader? Think he was the “best Opposition Leader never to be elected Premier”? Me neither.

    As for the comment he made last year that he got so heavily slammed for, that was racist dog whistling, pure and simple. His attempt to hide it behind his “aw, shucks” routine, both in the actual moment and last week, was pathetic.

    But how nauseating, the free pass the very same media have given to much worse racist bile by Coalition and ON figures. There is a horrendous double standard applied to Labor leaders that borders on contemptuous of democracy.

  27. SF do we know if it was the media that held onto the Daley recording or was it the Libs? If it was the Libs then that is just DirtyPolitics 101.

    Surely the mystery of the video is pretty straight forward. The LNP have run almost exclusively on a combination of racism and Islamophobia and division. It is core LNP electioneering. Prior to the Christchurch terrorist attack they had no real reason to highlight the video, it would help Labor rather than help them. The media and particularly the Sky / Murdoch / News sewer of hate, are complicit in the evil and hate labor so they were generally in the same position.

    In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack both the LNP and the media had a vested interest in using the video to drag both sides into the quagmire (and yeah I think Daley dived in deliberately but in a context where the the ‘centre’ of Australian debate was how evil Muslims are and how many people can we torture for how long on Manus and Nauru and was then blind sided by a weird momentary cross-over caused by Christchurch). I don’t feel sorry for him, but I get very angry with anyone who is stupid and / or evil enough to express ‘what a great response from Morrison’.

    But any doubt we are a thoroughly nasty hate filled country was obliterated last night when the party of hate won one of our biggest States quite easily. It is difficult to believe but one former Labor Minister and an ABC journo somehow took the opposite message from the triumph of the party of Islamophobia, racism and hate.

  28. JimmyD
    Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Alfred Deakin is rolling over in his grave right now at the very idea that he was “conservative”. He was well known as a liberal Protectionist, which is why most of the conservative Protectionists defected to the Free Traders when he became leader.

    Fair cop.

    This is what Wiki says about the architect of the White Australia Policy.

    As Prime Minister, Deakin completed a significant legislative program that makes him, with Labor’s Andrew Fisher, the founder of an effective Commonwealth government. He expanded the High Court, provided major funding for the purchase of ships, leading to the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy as a significant force under the Fisher government, and established Australian control of Papua. Confronted by the rising Australian Labor Party in 1909, he merged his Protectionist Party with Joseph Cook’s Anti-Socialist Party to create the Commonwealth Liberal Party (known commonly as the Fusion), the main ancestor of the modern Liberal Party of Australia.

    Australia (And the world for that matter, including the US and Canada) has a racist history, and the Labor party of the times reflected that.
    EDIT: Should have said All parties

    In any case, GP’s attempt to smear the modern Labor party by asserting that they introduced the WAP is patent nonsense.

  29. Goll says:
    Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    ‘I assume the Greens would be a big chance………..’
    No? where is Greenwich getting his supporters? I assumed it was from Greens and ALP voters.

  30. it’s the vibe

    Yeah, I am sure.

    I mean, they weren’t at the Oscars. Or the Brownlow Medal count; this sort of clothing seems to be de rigeur, pathetic though that is. A beach party, maybe.

    A street gathering outside your work. Nah. sorry. Doesn’t wash with me. I mean you’re a journo; you’re never off duty. Do you want to be taken seriously, or not.

  31. Fantastic! The Greens’ candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, has conceded defeat! It’s now Janelle Saffin on 17,437 versus Nationals candidate, Austin Curtin on 15,488.
    Looks like it will be +1 for the ALP.

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