Election plus 11 days

Late counting, a disputed result, new research into voter attitudes, Senate vacancies, and the looming party members’ vote for the state Labor leadership in New South Wales.

Sundry updates and developments:

• As noted in the regularly updated late counting post, Labor has taken a 67 vote lead in Macquarie, after trailing 39 at the close of counting yesterday. However, there is no guarantee that this represents an ongoing trend to Labor, since most of the gain came from the counting of absents, which would now be just about done. Most of the outstanding votes are out-of-division pre-polls, which could go either way. The result will determine whether the Coalition governs with 77 or 78 seats out of 151, while Labor will have either 67 or 68.

• Labor is reportedly preparing to challenge the result in Chisholm under the “misleading or deceptive publications” provision of the Electoral Act, a much ploughed but largely unproductive tillage for litigants over the years. The Victorian authorities have been rather activist in upholding “misleading or deceptive publications” complaints, but this is in the lower stakes context of challenges to the registration of how-to-vote cards, rather than to the result of an election. At issue on this occasion is Liberal Party material circulated on Chinese language social media service WeChat, which instructed readers to fill out the ballot paper in the manner recommended “to avoid an informal vote”. I await for a court to find otherwise, but this strikes me as pretty thin gruel. The Chinese community is surely aware that Australian elections presume to present voters with a choice, so the words can only be understood as an address to those who have decided to vote Liberal. Labor also have a beef with Liberal material that looked like Australian Electoral Commission material, in Chisholm and elsewhere.

• Political science heavyweights Simon Jackman and Shaun Ratcliff of the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre has breakdowns from a big sample campaign survey in The Guardian, noting that only survey data can circumvent the ecological fallacy, a matter raised in my previous post. The survey was derived from 10,316 respondents from a YouGov online panel, and conducted from April 18 to May 12. The results suggest the Coalition won through their dominance of the high income cohort (taken here to mean an annual household income of over $208,000), particularly among the self-employed, for which their primary vote is recorded as approaching 80%. Among business and trust owners on incomes of over $200,000, the Coalition outpolled Labor 60% to 10%, with the Greens on next to nothing. However, for those in the high income bracket who didn’t own business or trusts, the Coalition was in the low forties, Labor the high thirties, and the Greens the low teens. While Ratcliff in The Guardian seeks to rebut the notion that “battlers” decided the election for the Coalition, the big picture impression for low-income earners is that Labor were less than overwhelmingly dominant.

• As reported in the Financial Review on Friday, post-election polling for JWS Research found Coalition voters tended to rate tax and economic management as the most important campaign issue, against climate change, health and education for Labor voters. Perhaps more interestingly, it found Coalition voters more than twice as likely to nominate “free-to-air” television as “ABC, SBS television” as their favoured election news source, whereas Labor voters plumped for both fairly evenly. Coalition voters were also significantly more likely to identify “major newspapers (print/online)”.

• Two impending resignations from Liberal Senators create openings for losing election candidates. The Financial Review reports Mitch Fifield’s Victorian vacancy looks set to be of interest not only to Sarah Henderson, outgoing Corangamite MP and presumed front-runner, but also to Indi candidate Steve Martin, Macnamara candidate Kate Ashmor and former state MP Inga Peulich.

• In New South Wales, Arthur Sinodinos’s Senate seat will fall vacant later this year, when he takes up the position of ambassador to the United States. The most widely invoked interested party to succeed him has been Jim Molan, who is publicly holding out hope that below-the-line votes will elect him to the third Coalition seat off fourth position on the ballot paper, although this is assuredly not going to happen. As canvassed in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Financial Review, other possible starters include Warren Mundine, freshly unsuccessful in his lower house bid for Gilmore; James Brown, chief executive of Catholic Schools NSW, state RSL president and the husband of Daisy Turnbull Brown, daughter of the former Prime Minister; Michael Hughes, state party treasurer and the brother of Lucy Turnbull; Kent Johns, the state party vice-president who appeared set to depose Craig Kelly for preselection in Hughes, but was prevailed on not to proceed; Richard Sheilds, chief lobbyist at the Insurance Council of Australia; Mary-Lou Jarvis, Woollahra councillor and unsuccessful preselection contender in Wentworth; and Michael Feneley, heart surgeon and twice-unsuccessful candidate for Kingsford Smith.

• Federal Labor may have evaded a party membership ballot through Anthony Albanese’s sole nomination, but a ballot is pending for the party’s new state leader in New South Wales, which will pit Kogarah MP Chris Minns against Strathfield MP Jodi McKay. The members’ ballot will be conducted over the next month, the parliamentary party will hold its vote on June 29, and the result will be announced the following day. Members’ ballots in leadership contests are now provided for federally and in most states (as best as I can tell, South Australia is an exception), but this is only the second time one has actually been conducted after the Shorten-Albanese bout that followed the 2013 election. As the Albanese experience demonstrates, the ballots can be circumvented if a candidate emerges unopposed, and the New South Wales branch, for one, has an exception if the vacancy arises six months before an election. Such was the case when Michael Daley succeeded Luke Foley in November, when he won a party room vote ahead of Chris Minns by 33 votes to 12.

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.

999 comments on “Election plus 11 days”

  1. He, and I have no interest in your orifices fundamental or otherwise.

    It was a compliment. Keep shoving them where you please.

  2. Paul Bongiorno
    ‏@PaulBongiorno
    16m16 minutes ago

    Thought Albo @AlboMP and Bill @billshortenmp were a credit to themselves and to the nation today, lifting the tone, inspirationally aspirational and respectful of the election result and the victor.

  3. Simon² Katich® says:

    She still writing these from London?

    She finds it easy writing from there , flick through the online Australian and Daily Telegraph to ‘learn’ what is happening, pump out your article and Bob’s your uncle.

  4. Tristo @ #846 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 5:36 pm

    @lizzie

    Thanks for sharing the tweet from gregbrown_TheOz about Richard Marles, I find it honestly scary stuff.

    You’ve never met him, have you? You’re basing your opinion on what you’ve seen, heard and read about him in the media, aren’t you? Yet you assume that gives you a special insight.

  5. For a start, it may surprise you all to know that Richard Marles was a guest of father Rod Bower at his church in Gosford to speak to his congregation about asylum seekers. I was there.

  6. I mean, really, what hope have Labor got when supposedly Left-supporting people would prefer to believe the negative characterisations that the media put out about Labor people?

  7. The factional bosses determined the makeup of the leadership, with NSW MP Anthony Albanese the leader and Victorian MP Richard Marles the deputy.”

    Just like union bosses. Fock off ABC.

  8. C@t

    I’m not listening to the media on Marles, I’m going on his past actions. If he’s really so wonderful, Labor should make sure we learn to know him better.

  9. The Ch 10 news had a piece about the Sri Lankan asylum seekers. Dutton was claiming they came because they thought Labor would win. Albanese said that’s rubbish – was a bit emotional saying hadn’t Dutton heard about the recent terror attacks in Sri Lanka.

  10. Amusing that when Shorten ascribes his defeat to Palmer’s millions and Murdoch’s media, the Shorten haters here say, “Nah… he was just unpopular.”

    The logical extension of this is that Palmer wasted his money and Murdoch may as well have shut down his newspapers, ’cause, y’know, people didn’t like Bill Shorten anyway. Apparently “people” came to this conclusion spontaneously, without reference to the daily media Kill Bill grind.

    I guess they must have all known Shorten personally.

  11. lizzie @ #863 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 5:59 pm

    C@t

    I’m not listening to the media on Marles, I’m going on his past actions. If he’s really so wonderful, Labor should make sure we learn to know him better.

    No doubt that will now happen. I had negative first impressions too, but when I met him in the flesh I saw a completely different person.

  12. BB
    I don’t buy the media was that bad this time, I thought they were far more bias in 2013, than this time. Shorten is on stronger ground if he wants to complain about Palmer but here he needs to explain why he and the ALP didn’t push back against Palmer for his role at Queensland Nickel.

  13. The commercial media made a motza from Palmer’s $50-70 million advertising spend pre-election.

    Why would they want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by criticising Palmer?

    Also, the ABC is mainly just an echo of the commercial media.

  14. Citizen
    The ALP should have been running ads pointing out Palmer’s actions at Queensland Nickel instead of waiting for the media to do it, most journos wouldn’t know what Queensland Nickel was.

  15. Sarah Henderson is a possibility for the Senate.

    @alisonsbread
    3h3 hours ago

    The people of #Corangamite will be livid. Henderson is NOT popular. She had a gentle, 75 year old woman arrested for quietly protesting outside her office, asking to speak to her about #climatechange Yet Henderson was employed as a rep of the people??

  16. a r
    If capitalism didn’t exist then it wouldn’t change the fact that the ALP’s response to Palmer was soft, it is not the media’s job to run a political party’s campaign. Most journos would know little if anything about Palmer’s Queensland Nickel.

  17. Some here say that Richard Marles might just as easily be a Liberal. Well he’s not one, and why? Because he has a social conscience.

    For which he deserves praise, not ignorant abuse.

  18. lizzie @ #875 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 6:26 pm

    Sarah Henderson is a possibility for the Senate.

    @alisonsbread
    3h3 hours ago

    The people of #Corangamite will be livid. Henderson is NOT popular. She had a gentle, 75 year old woman arrested for quietly protesting outside her office, asking to speak to her about #climatechange Yet Henderson was employed as a rep of the people??

    Henderson runs with Nazis. Real ones. She may not be one herself but when you employ them what does it say about you?

    Also, in an election when the tide ran with the Coalition and her seat was lavished with pork, what does it say about her that she was one of the only Coalition MPs to lose their seat?

  19. Latest from Mr Bowe on Macquarie and Cowan (because they favour Labor 😀 ):

    Wednesday, May 29

    Happily for Labor, my supposition that there wouldn’t be too many absents left in Macquarie was misplaced – a new batch today broke a handy 402-259 their way. The latest batch of out-of-division pre-polls also surprised in breaking 316-170 for Labor. This extends Labor’s lead from 67 to 282, and there wouldn’t be much more still out there than 500 or so pre-polls and 300 postals – unless I’m still wrong about absents, in which case Labor’s lead should widen further.

    If any doubt remained in Cowan, it was dealt with by today’s 1456-1061 break to Labor on absents, along with 106-87 on the latest postals. This pushes the Labor lead from 825 to 1239, which means Labor’s lead here is actually greater than it is in Eden-Monaro and Lilley.

  20. Rex Douglas says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 6:43 pm
    Bill looked re-invigorated today. Ready for the fresh challenge ahead.
    ___________________
    Littlefinger 2025 – He’s tanned, ready and rested.

  21. C@tmomma says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 7:05 pm
    Lars Von Trier @ #889 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 7:04 pm

    Rex Douglas says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 6:43 pm
    Bill looked re-invigorated today. Ready for the fresh challenge ahead.
    ___________________
    Littlefinger 2025 – He’s tanned, ready and rested.
    And you’re still a pale echo of nath.
    ____________________
    Any you will never amount to more than you.

  22. Latest from Mr Bowe on Macquarie and Cowan

    Anyone know why AEC is still counting Bass as ‘close’? Have they lost some boxes? Havent done any checks yet? Waiting for a sign, any kind of sign?
    On the numbers it is done and dusted.

  23. Defeatist Labor.. the electorate is fairly evenly split, Labor made unforced errors. Bill whingeing about the “press” & “big cooperates” make Labor look like born losers.

    It’s good to take behind the scenes action to rectify the situation but don’t go out of your way to be the national Collingwood.

  24. Nice how the Latika Bourke article’s headlines are getting more and more and more hysterical…

    A couple of hours ago:

    Albanese caps off his first week as leader by making key mistakes .

    But now?

    Albanese’s captain’s call has backfired and he’s left with the worst of both worlds

    Apparently Fairfax-lite didn’t think Latika’s readers were getting a negative enough impression of the new leader.

    It was one of the filthiest, nastiest elections I can recall, but the miserable media bitches don’t seem happy. Why so much hatred still, post-event?

    It’s not like Labor was wiped out, or utterly disgraced. They lost an election, that’s all, without the pre-election position changing all that much. But their opponents needed hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and kind to run one of the cruellest, lowest hatchet jobs directed at one single man in political history… while letting the other side off, by depicting them as happy-go-lucky footy fans, jolly embezzlers and cheery carrot munchers without the slightest scrutiny of their policy direction or dodgy donors. All this, for a fragile majority of two seats (or maybe just one).

    And now they’re after Shorten’s successor, in a vitriol-fuelled hate fest that seems directionless and needlessly negative.

  25. >a r
    If capitalism didn’t exist then it wouldn’t change the fact that the ALP’s response to Palmer was soft, it is not the media’s job to run a political party’s campaign. Most journos would know little if anything about Palmer’s Queensland Nickel.

    —–

    Realistically, Palmer was just a distraction and the ALP was best advised to focus on the Coalition as they did. Palmer never had a hope of winning a reps seat & the only senate seat he had a hope of winning was from One Nation.

    To be frank, anybody who voted for Palmer probably was unreachable by general advertising, as they were either low information or did not care.

    (That said, more fundamentally I thought that Labor should have gone harder on the ethical vacuity of the Government though its term. In that respect, Palmer’s conduct and the closeness of the preference deal would have contributed to a narrative of a dodgy government)

  26. Someone on Twitter checked Libtika’s last 12 articles. All negative about Labor.
    I can see how she does it from London though. PMO sends the talking points through to her. She puts her name to them to give them a degree of separation. Too easy.

  27. I don’t honestly know how you counter a Palmer style campaign.

    Attacking Palmer doesn’t work because he wasn’t trying to get elected … everyone knew his ads were bullshit so saying that Palmer is a slimeball spouting lies doesn’t change anyone’s perceptions of Palmer, and it doesn’t help the Labor party.

    Again: Palmer wasn’t trying to get UAP candidates elected, he was trying to tear down the Labor party, and you can’t counter that kind of campaign by attacking Palmer.

    Someone much smarter than I am might have an answer. Humour might be part of an answer, maybe?

  28. Realistically, Palmer was just a distraction and the ALP was best advised to focus on the Coalition as they did. Palmer never had a hope of winning a reps seat & the only senate seat he had a hope of winning was from One Nation.

    Most peeps try (sort of) to cut through the BS thrown at them by the major parties. Palmer mattered because he backed up the claims being made by the Coalition. It was all to easy for a mostly disengaged voter to see the lies coming from two sources, seemingly independent of each other, and go – hmmmm, maybe they are right.

    And, from my anecdotal evidence of letter drops and online ads, Palmers efforts more than doubled the anti Shorten advertising out there. Like it or not, in the battle to win swing voters in our 2PP system…. that matters.

  29. Mexicanbeemer @ #880 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 6:34 pm

    a r
    If capitalism didn’t exist then it wouldn’t change the fact that the ALP’s response to Palmer was soft, it is not the media’s job to run a political party’s campaign. Most journos would know little if anything about Palmer’s Queensland Nickel.

    NO, IT’S ONLY THEIR FUCKING JOB TO KNOW.

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