Photo finishes

Progressive updates on late counting in the seats that will determine whether Scott Morrison governs in majority or minority.

A full display of the election results, with complete booth figures, swings and probability estimates, can be found here.

Monday, June 3

The four day break in counting in Macquarie ended with all one-way traffic for Labor: postals broke 154-125, out-of-division pre-polls 103-87 and absents 88-66, putting Labor’s lead out from 282 to 348. Antony Green has called it for Susan Templeman, and Templeman has claimed victory. A few hundred votes still to mop up, presumably tomorrow.

Friday, May 31

Still nothing from Macquarie.

Thursday, May 30

No counting was conducted in Macquarie today. I believe the few remaining scraps are likely to be tidied there today, with there not being enough there to overturn the 282 vote Labor lead. The only hope for the Liberals now is a serious error turning up in the full preference count.

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.

Tuesday, May 28

Labor finally took the lead in Macquarie today, emerging with a 67 vote lead after trailing by 39 votes yesterday. This was thanks to a stronger batch of absents than yesterday’s (505-438 to Labor), a slight gain on out-of-division pre-polls (483-477) and rechecking of ordinary votes, which cost the Liberals 27 votes and boosted Labor by six. However, there can’t be too many more absents left in the can, and the Liberals could hope to claw back about 40 votes on remaining postals, of which I would guess there are about 300. That leaves the result in the hands of maybe 1000 further out-of-division pre-polls. These have slightly favoured Labor so far, and did likewise in 2016, but batch results can vary considerably depending on where they are sourced from.

Macquarie is the only seat still seriously in doubt, as Labor’s Anne Aly stubbornly maintains her lead in Cowan. Today it went from 810 to 825, as a batch of out-of-division pre-polls favoured her 896-881. Their might be another 2000 absents and another 2000 out-of-division pre-polls to come, of which the former have favoured Labor while the latter have split exquisitely evenly. The Liberals would need at least a 55-45 split in their favour.

Monday, May 27

Macquarie remains close in every way, with today’s count dominated by a 493-471 split in favour of Labor on out-of-division pre-polls, and absents going 471-469 to Liberal. Together with rechecking, the net effect is to reduce the Liberal lead from 57 to 40. The result hinges mostly on perhaps 1800 outstanding absents, which can vary significantly in their behaviour from batch to batch. In Cowan, out-of-division pre-polls give the Liberals only a very slight boost, reducing the Labor lead from 833 to 810. The Liberals will need about 57% out of maybe 6000 outstanding votes, few of which are postals, the only vote type on which they have come close to doing that well.

Saturday, May 25

Only minor additions to the count today, but that’s enough to be significant in Macquarie, where the Liberal lead is now down from 71 to 46. A batch of declaration votes broke 108-73 in favour of Labor, offsetting a net Liberal gain of 10 from rechecking. Labor’s lead in Cowan is up from 813 to 833, mostly due to a batch of absents that broke 383-352. In Bass, out of division pre-polls broke 167-123 to Labor, reducing the Liberal lead from 699 to 656 (there were also tiny changes from rechecking). In Lilley, Labor’s lead went from 879 to 901 due to rechecking and out of division pre-polls, the latter of which broke 449-427 their way.

Friday, May 24

The small number of provisional votes were counted today in Cowan, and they behaved typically in giving Labor a slight boost, of 211-184. However, the advantage was outweighed by rechecking, with the Labor lead ending the day at 813, down from 839. But with only handfuls of postal voting yet to come, the Liberals are going to have to do unusually well on absents and out-of-division pre-polls.

Macquarie could very easily go either way, but only rechecking was conducted today, the effect of which was to reduce the Liberal lead from 131 to 71. Postals to continue to widen the Liberal lead in Bass, now out from 561 to 699, while absents have moved Labor further ahead in Lilley, from 817 to 879.

Thursday, May 23

Macquarie looks like going right down to the wire, with the first batch of absents favouring Labor 476-444, and the latest batch of postals reversing the earlier tide in breaking 259-194 to Labor. That cuts yesterday’s Liberal lead of 196 to 131. In Cowan, Labor’s lead is out from 748 to 839 as the first absents break 941-843 their way. Conversely, the first absents from Bass have broken 836-787 to Liberal, which, together with rechecking, pushes the Liberal lead out from 497 to 561. In Lilley, Labor’s lead slips slightly from 842 to 817 as the latest postals break 875-787 to the LNP, outweighing a rather hefty 275-197 Labor advantage on the first absents.

Wednesday, May 22

Only rechecking today in Cowan, where Labor ended the day 748 ahead, compared with 762 yesterday. Elsewhere:

Chisholm. Another batch of postals breaks 1064-905 to the Liberal, increasing their lead from 1220 to 1379.

Macquarie. The latest postals have broken 524-396 to Liberal, exactly the same proportion as those already in the count, increasing their lead from 68 to 196.

Bass. The Liberal lead nudges from 453 to 497, with the latest postals breaking 517-483 to Liberal together with some slight ordinary vote adjustments on rechecking.

Lilley. A big batch of postals breaks very much like the first, going to 2551-2093 to the LNP, which reduces the Labor lead from 1288 to 842, but doesn’t change the impression that Labor should be able to hold on.

Tuesday, May 21

My election results facility, linked to above, has ended the day less buggily than it began. Developments from today’s count:

Chisholm. Another 3963 postals have gone similarly the first 5413, and in doing so have increased the Liberal lead from 591 to 1220. The trend of absent votes in 2016 suggests Labor should only be able to claw back about 250 there.

Macquarie. Only rechecking done today, nudging the Liberal lead from 50 to 68. Labor should only make slight gains on absent and out-of-division pre-polls, which I think more likely than not to be outweighed by the Liberal gain on outstanding postals.

Bass. I thought the first batch of postals surprisingly strong for Labor, but it turns out postals behaved no differently from ordinary votes in 2016 as well, where usually they lean conservative. Today’s batch, however, went 767-706 in favour of the Liberals, increasing the lead from 392 to 453. Absent votes were likewise bang on the ordinary votes in 2016; out-of-division pre-polls favoured Liberal. So Labor would need to pull a rabbit out of the hat here.

Lilley. A rare bit of good news for Labor, in that it looks an error had been made in the Geebung booth that had it favouring the LNP 1046-830, but which has now shows as 1033-862 in favour of Labor. That boosts their lead from 901 to 1288, which you’d think would be enough.

Cowan. Labor’s lead has reduced from 1006 to 762 on the back of a second batch of postals, which went 1223-1040 to the Liberals – slightly less favourable for them than the first, of which the Liberals got 56.9% rather than 54.0% – and ordinary vote rechecking, which boosted them by 61. However, absents and out-of-division pre-polls in 2016 behaved very much like ordinary votes, and there shouldn’t be a huge mass of postals outstanding, so I would think it likely Labor will hang on.

Monday, May 20

As you can see above, I now have an election results facility in business, albeit still with a few bugs to be ironed out. With that more-or-less accomplished, I should be able to follow the final stages of the count in more detail. It now appears clear that the Coalition has secured a majority, the most likely result being 77 seats out of 151. Counting of postal votes is still at a fairly advanced stage, and these reliably lean conservative, so the trend of yesterday’s counting was in their favour. However, no absent votes have been counted, and these can sometimes go the other way. Furthermore, Kevin Bonham believes he has observed a tendency of the first batches of postals to be more conservative than later ones. With that in mind, here’s the latest mail from those undecided seats where counting progressed yesterday, i.e. all of them other than Indi and Boothby, where I’m probably being overly cautious in not calling them for independent and Liberal respectively.

Chisholm. Liberal candidate Gladys Liu extended her lead yesterday from 166 to 591. Postals have so far recorded a smaller swing to Labor, of 0.8%, than ordinary votes, which swung 2.5%. Still in doubt.

Macquarie. The Liberals now lead here by 50 votes, after trailing by 312 yesterday. Postals have so far recorded a 2.2% swing to the Liberals, not much different from ordinary votes. Still in doubt.

Bass. Better news for Labor here, with the Liberal lead narrowing from 437 to 392, and postals surprisingly swinging slightly in Labor’s favour after ordinary votes swung over 6%. Still in doubt.

Lilley. Labor’s lead narrowed yesterday from 1110 to 901. Postals haven’t swung much differently from ordinary votes so far, so Labor seem likely to hold on.

Wentworth. Kerryn Phelps conceded defeat to Liberal candidate Dave Sharma yesterday as a strong trend on postals blew the lead out from 1751 to 2864.

Sunday, May 19

This post will be used to provide regularly updated coverage of late counting in seats that remain in doubt, of which I count seven: the marginal Liberal seat of Chisholm in Melbourne, where newcomer Gladys Liu leads by 166 votes (0.11%); Macquarie on Sydney’s western fringe, where Labor incumbent Susan Templeman is 312 votes in front (0.18%); Bass, where Liberal candidate Bridget Archer holds a lead of 437 votes (0.36%) over Labor incumbent Ross Hart; Indi, where independent candidate Helen Haines holds a 2781 lead (1.6%) over the Liberals in her bid to succeed retiring independent Cathy McGowan; Labor-held Lilley in Brisbane, where Labor’s Anika Wells hold a 1110 vote lead (0.69%) as she seeks to succeed the retiring Wayne Swan; and, stretching it a little further, Wentworth, where Liberal candidate Dave Sharma now holds a 1751 lead (1.16%) over independent incumbent Kerryn Phelps, and Boothby, where Liberal incumbent Nicolle Flint leads Labor by 2183 votes (1.18%). Hopefully tomorrow I will finally get the time to fix the bugs in a results reporting facility that will report results and swings at booth level.

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.

107 comments on “Photo finishes”

  1. Mng – but for the above 7 what is the Coalition seat count as we stand?

    ie, if Coalition win the 4 they are leading in (but lose the other 3) would that be 77 – or more?

  2. Surely Labor must lodge an official complaint with the AEC about the deceptive Chinese and Korean language “How to vote” A-frames that were mounted in Chisholm (especially) and Kooyong. With Chisholm being decided by such a small margin, this has to be given consideration.

    Also, is there any automatic recount provision if result is < x%? I know there was a recount in McEwen some years ago that resulted in Fran Bailey winning by approx 30 votes, when the seat had been awarded to Labor after the first count.

  3. I get that the Liberals will get to 77. They will win Chisholm, Bass, Boothby and Wentworth.
    Labor should hold on in Lilley.
    Macquarie is going to be extremely close, it might be well under 100 votes victory for either side. If the Liberals win this as well then that is 78.
    Indi does not look to be in any doubt to me.

  4. What are the odds of Labor pulling off a surprise upset in either Chisholm or Bass, to keep the Liberals steady on 76?

  5. Yup 78 looks likely, 77 prob the floor. Increase in seats on 2016, pretty much a nsw election repeat. V disappointing month for the ALP

  6. Macquarie is not over despite the Liberals hitting the front.
    The remaining postal votes should extend the Liberal lead, perhaps by about 170 votes, so to about 190- 200 votes.
    Absentee votes should favour the Labor party. I calculate there might be a gain of about 100 votes.
    Then it comes down declaration pre-polls and provisional votes. Labor did better in both of these than ordinary votes last time so should make up some more ground here.
    Perhaps Liberals by well under 100 votes. However if the last batch of postal votes are not quite so good for the Liberals or the absentee votes are a bit better than I expect Labor could still win by a small margin.
    Also surely there is going to be a recount in this seat and that might find counting errors that might move the votes either way.

  7. Hunter is a bit interesting. I doubt One Nation get to second but if they do they probably will need something over 70% of Nationals perferences. Is that in any way possible?

  8. “Surely Labor must lodge an official complaint with the AEC about the deceptive Chinese and Korean language “How to vote” A-frames that were mounted in Chisholm (especially) and Kooyong”

    As the AEC tweeted about a hundred times on election day, the AEC has no legislative role in approving content of election material. As long as it’s properly approved and not advocating informal voting, it’s AEC-OK.

    If you think it affected the election result, take it up with the CDR.

  9. Labor now are probably slight favourites in Macquarie after the last batch of postal votes counted has not been as favourable to the Liberals as previous batches, but anything can still happen.

  10. There are not many postals left in Macquarie, 148 to be processed and maybe another thousand to come in but who knows. The last batch hardly broke to the Coalition. There are already 4018 absent, 533 prov and 1310 dec votes to be counted. Labor should win Macquarie unless something strange happens.
    In Bass with a 392 vote lead to the Libs, the postals are actually favouring Labor as they did in 2016. There are also heaps of absent, prov and dec votes. This is not over.
    In Chisholm, a 591 vote lead and 6755 votes to be processed with the postals breaking at 57% to the Libs (up around 750 votes on postals) . If the postals keep breaking this way no contest, but the later the postals comes in the more they tend to favour Labor.

  11. Martin B:

    Section 329 of the Electoral Act example:

    “It is clear from reading the entire reasons for judgment of the High Court in Crichton-Browne that the prohibition in s 329 concerns misleading or deceptive conduct which might affect the process of casting a vote rather than the formation of the political judgment about how the vote will be cast. That is, the section concerns conduct which might, for example, lead a voter either to fail to record a valid vote or to record a valid vote but not for the candidate or candidates of the voter’s choice. An obvious example would be information which told a voter how to go about completing the ballot paper which was wrong and would result in the casting of an informal vote.”

    It could be argued that the poster was encouraging what would be an informal vote.

    “Correct way to vote: On the green voting card, put preference 1 next to the Liberal Party. The other boxes can be numbered from smallest to highest.”

    This could easily result in an informal vote as the individual may use “1” more than once.

    We all know that Liberals can’t win without cheating and deceit. It’s what they do because they know they can’t win honestly.

  12. Warringah is an independent retain hey?

    See where I just said it still needs work and has a few bugs? Getting all this done involved a good deal of highly intensive effort, whereas being a smartarse is a worthless exercise that can effortlessly be accomplished by any old dickhead.

  13. William

    For all your hard work, I hope you get your reward in heaven as I doubt you’re being recompensed adequately on earth. Perhaps ScoMo could put in a good word for you. 😉

  14. I’ll be sure not to bring any more data errors to your attention then, lest I be called any more names. Make it open source and accept pull requests if bearing that load alone is too much for your mental wellbeing.

  15. Looks like Chisholm is done and dusted, Libs nearly 1000 votes ahead now.

    Bass is still showing a weak Lib performance on postals, but probably enough to get home.

    Labor should be able to overturn the tiny Lib lead in Macquarie on absents and prepolls.

  16. Hi William,
    You might need to keep an eye on Cowan, Anne Aly’s lead seems to be crashing at a rapid rate. I don’t know why but this seat looks a lot closer than yesterday.

  17. The ALP`s apparent loss in Chisholm is almost certainly due to them diverting resources to Higgins, where the Greens were fighting the Liberals. The ALP, who came third last time, could have had a bare bones candidate plus HTV campaign and better used the resources in Chisholm and cost the Liberals a seat or two but they were more interested in defeating the Greens than the Liberals.

  18. Macquarie is now showing 133 vote lead to the Liberals.
    I do not think this is enough for the Liberals, but there are still some postal votes to be counted and perhaps still more to arrive. If the Liberals can get to around 250 in front they probably have a chance of winning.

  19. In the qld senate, the Amsecond ALP is now behind the 3rd liberal and with palmers preferences to be distributed. It is looking highly likely Qld will be 3Lib 1green, 1onp and 1 Alp

  20. Thanks Bucephalus. It looks like the AEC has just started conducting a Nationals-versus-independent preference count, since the independent has clearly finished second. They junked their Nationals-versus-ALP count on the night. This has confused my system a little, which I’ll have a look at fixing later. It’s academic though, as Barnaby Joyce has clearly won.

  21. Thanks for all the work on the seat analysis William and for everything during the campaign. We still need your expertise regardless of polling problems.

  22. ”Labor should be able to overturn the tiny Lib lead in Macquarie on absents and prepolls.”
    Or maybe the Liberal candidate will go further ahead.
    There is no evidence that absents or prepolls will go one way or the other.

  23. Liberals gained another 5 votes in Macquarie to lead by 156, must be from rechecking the count because no new votes have been counted as far as I can see.
    The first lot of absentee votes went in favour of the Liberals despite Labor doing better in them last time. Last Labour did over 1% better in postal votes than they did in ordinary votes. If the Liberals continue to out perform that make by a lot then they will win the seat.

  24. I suspect that Macquarie will be called for Richards tomorrow. Incredible effort from a candidate who worked incredibly hard and had a small but agile campaign team.

  25. I’ve just looked at Cowan. There is a page for outstanding votes:

    https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/HouseDivisionPage-24310-237.htm

    This shows outstanding votes for absentees, provisionals, declaration votes and postals. Now you would think that the envelopes issued for these votes would be known at the close of counting on Election Day.

    I looked at these figures yesterday and absentees were 6626 ( today 6675), provisionals 1368 (today 1471), declarations 4779 (today 5292).

    There has been an increase of 965 votes since yesterday. Can anyone enlighten me as to how this can happen?

  26. Now up 196.
    Need to see what happens with more of the absentee votes at least until it can possibly be called for anyone. Labor could still make up the deficit.

  27. Just throwing this out there: Hunter
    Currently the Nat leads ON by 1,900
    Minors are:
    Greens 5840
    CDP and UAP 5894
    Animal Justice (which tends to preference to the right) 2,777

    If CPD and UAP went strongly to ON there would be a chance that he could overcome the Nat and I suspect the Nats would go strongly to ON = bye-bye Joel
    It won’t happen but the fact that it is possible that ON could take the seat which was Labor’s safest for most of the 20th C says something about the re-alignment of voting demographics.
    A significant number of voters in Labor heartland have supported a tattooed, bigoted buffoon to one of Labor’s professional politicians

  28. In Macquarie the second batch of Absentee votes favoured Labor strongly with them making up 48 votes, 254-206. This brings the average of the two small batch back to about where I expected it to be, just over 1% better for Labor than the ordinary vote percentage. However until more are counted it is not clear whether it will stay at around this figure.

  29. In Hunter the postal votes counted so far are much better for the Nationals compared to One Nation which is hardly surprising. I would expect similar with absentee and declaration pre-polls as well.

  30. One nation will end up well behind on the primaries but we don’t have information of how the minors will break and in what order

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