Mopping up operations

Late counting adds some extra grunt to the backlash against the Liberals in wealthy city seats, slightly reducing the size of their expected winning margin on the national two-party vote.

The Australian Electoral Commission is now conducting Coalition-versus-Labor preference counts in seats where its indicative preference counts included minor party or independent candidates – or, if you want to stay on top of the AEC’s own jargon in these matters, two-party preferred counts in non-classic contests.

Such counts are complete in the seven seats listed below; 94% complete in Warringah, where the current count records a 7.4% swing to Labor, 78% complete in New England, where there is a 1.2% swing to the Coalition; at a very early stage in Clark (formerly Denison, held by Andrew Wilkie); and have yet to commence in Farrer, Indi, Mayo and Melbourne. Labor have received unexpectedly large shares of preferences from the independent candidates in Kooyong, Warringah and Wentworth, to the extent that Kevin Bonham now reckons the final national two-party preferred vote will be more like 51.5-48.5 in favour of the Coalition than the 52-48 projected by most earlier estimates.

We also have the first completed Senate count, from the Northern Territory. This isn’t interesting in and of itself, since the result there was always going to be one seat each for Labor and the Country Liberals. However, since it comes with the publication of the full data file accounting for the preference order of every ballot paper, it does provide us with the first hard data we have on how each party’s preferences flowed. From this I can offer the seemingly surprising finding that 57% of United Australia Party voters gave Labor preferences ahead of the Country Liberals compared with only 37% for vice-versa, with the remainder going to neither.

Lest we be too quick to abandon earlier assessments of how UAP preferences were behaving, this was almost certainly a consequence of a ballot paper that had the UAP in column A, Labor in column B and the Country Liberals in column C. While not that many UAP votes would have been donkey votes as normally understood, there seems little doubt that they attracted a lot of support from blasé voters who weren’t much fussed how they dispensed with preferences two through six. There also appears to have been a surprisingly weak 72% flow of Greens preferences to Labor, compared with 25% to the Country Liberals. It remains to be seen if this will prove to be another territorian peculiarity – my money is on yes.

Note also that there’s a post below this one dealing with various matters in state politics in Western Australia.

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.

2,119 comments on “Mopping up operations”

  1. Pegasus @ #1795 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:12 pm

    NSW Labor

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/16/the-blood-sports-just-beginning-as-nsw-labor-leadership-battle-heats-up

    Two right-faction MPs try to differentiate themselves to party members – while Labor supporters cling to hope of a way out
    :::
    While the Labor head office has backed her, the right’s loyalties are split and the left has not fallen in behind either candidate, which means how the caucus vote will shape out remains unclear.
    :::
    The policy tussle has failed to set things alight so far and there remains an air of awkwardness about two right-faction MPs trying to differentiate themselves to the party’s 17,000 members.
    :::
    If exchanges like that don’t exactly suggest a cavernous policy difference between the candidates, rest assured that behind the scenes NSW Labor is not giving up on its reputation as a home for political blood sport.

    Thanks for the link Peg.

    Am I to assume McKay supports coal ?

    If so, surely Minns is the better option ..?

  2. ‘Join a faction and compromise your principles ? ..no, Singh is better than that.’

    Right. So if her principles were more important than her seat, she shouldn’t be complaining.

  3. As is usual, both Briefly and Rex are being totally hyperbolic. The election result was depressing as hell, no doubt about it. Labor fundamentally miscalculated their campaign and underestimated their opponents, and much of us supporting from the sidelines were guilty of the same.

    But let’s put things into perspective. The main reason the result seems so bad was because our expectations had been primed by years of polling suggesting a modest-to-landslide win for Labor, our own loathing for the government making us overestimate the public’s dislike of them (its important to remember that, for the average voter, “chaos and incompetence” only matters insofar as how it personally affects them, and the economy is currently plugging along fairly decently), and the general sense of a change of government being inevitable and that 2013-2019 would be a repeat of 2007-2013. Removed from those factors, the government had a modest swing towards them on the primary vote, a modest swing away from them on the primary vote, and won a whole one seat. Doesn’t make it any less of an awful outcome for the left, but some people are acting as if the Coalition won in some commanding landslide.

    To suggest that Labor has totally lost credibility, or that they were completely rejected by the electorate, or that they are “the weakest they’ve ever been in a century”, or that they are facing an existential crisis, or that “we are fucked,” is a pretty warped reading of an election where Labor suffered swings of just over 1% on both TPP and primary votes and the Coalition won a majority of just two seats, in an environment where the economy remains in reasonable shape and certain major media forces remain hostile to the Labor party.

    There’s no reason why Labor can’t win in a canter in the next election. Doesn’t mean they will, of course – and the opposition would be fools to be in the least bit complacent here – but anyone calling the 2022 (or whenever it is) election based on the outcome of the 2019 election hasn’t learnt a damn thing from the latter.

  4. Morrison, Taylor, Dutton, Frydenberg, Hunt, Ley could stop Adani tomorrow.
    Uh… let’s name and shame them.

    After all, they are all from the uber right!
    Instead we could natter endlessly about Singh.
    Thank goodness the Greens are forming government in 2022.

  5. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm
    Pegasus @ #1795 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:12 pm

    NSW Labor

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/16/the-blood-sports-just-beginning-as-nsw-labor-leadership-battle-heats-up

    Two right-faction MPs try to differentiate themselves to party members – while Labor supporters cling to hope of a way out
    :::
    While the Labor head office has backed her, the right’s loyalties are split and the left has not fallen in behind either candidate, which means how the caucus vote will shape out remains unclear.
    :::
    The policy tussle has failed to set things alight so far and there remains an air of awkwardness about two right-faction MPs trying to differentiate themselves to the party’s 17,000 members.
    :::
    If exchanges like that don’t exactly suggest a cavernous policy difference between the candidates, rest assured that behind the scenes NSW Labor is not giving up on its reputation as a home for political blood sport.

    Thanks for the link Peg.

    Am I to assume McKay supports coal ?

    If so, surely Minns is the better option ..?
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    No Rex. Jodi McKay believes in climate action as do almost 100% of the Labor Party.
    What Jodi has said is Labor must also work to replace fossil fuels with new industries which will provide jobs for people displaced from coal.
    Labor must do more in this regard and I might add the Greens should talk more about this too.

  6. Sir Henry Parkes @ #1806 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:37 pm

    Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm
    Pegasus @ #1795 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:12 pm

    NSW Labor

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/16/the-blood-sports-just-beginning-as-nsw-labor-leadership-battle-heats-up

    Two right-faction MPs try to differentiate themselves to party members – while Labor supporters cling to hope of a way out
    :::
    While the Labor head office has backed her, the right’s loyalties are split and the left has not fallen in behind either candidate, which means how the caucus vote will shape out remains unclear.
    :::
    The policy tussle has failed to set things alight so far and there remains an air of awkwardness about two right-faction MPs trying to differentiate themselves to the party’s 17,000 members.
    :::
    If exchanges like that don’t exactly suggest a cavernous policy difference between the candidates, rest assured that behind the scenes NSW Labor is not giving up on its reputation as a home for political blood sport.

    Thanks for the link Peg.

    Am I to assume McKay supports coal ?

    If so, surely Minns is the better option ..?
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    No Rex. Jodi McKay believes in climate action as do almost 100% of the Labor Party.
    What Jodi has said is Labor must also work to replace fossil fuels with new industries which will provide jobs for people displaced from coal.
    ….

    Sounds good, but an actual timeline provides more substance to a policy of transition than just motherhood statements.

  7. Rex

    Getting elected by using a party ticket and then joining the cross bench because you think that’s the way to save your seat would show a fair lack of principle.

  8. zinger @ #1805 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:36 pm

    Morrison, Taylor, Dutton, Frydenberg, Hunt, Ley could stop Adani tomorrow.
    Uh… let’s name and shame them.

    After all, they are all from the uber right!
    Instead we could natter endlessly about Singh.
    Thank goodness the Greens are forming government in 2022.

    When it comes to propping up thermal coal and politicians of either persuasion, all that matters is political donations.

  9. …and most independents get elected on a lie – that they can deliver things and influence outcomes in a way that, in practice, they can’t.

    If anything, they’re less honest than party candidates.

    I’ve seen it happen – the indie make huge promises to deliver MORE than the major party candidates, the major party candidates unable to match these because they’re constrained by reality (ever heard an indie explain how their promises will be costed?) and then the electorate gets less…

  10. zoomster @ #1810 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:45 pm

    Rex

    Getting elected by using a party ticket and then joining the cross bench because you think that’s the way to save your seat would show a fair lack of principle.

    But in Singhs case it was Labor who undeniably discarded her.

    It was a principled stand to NOT join a faction.

    But it was then a mistake to NOT continue as an Independent, in my humble opinion.

  11. zoomster @ #1812 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:50 pm

    …and most independents get elected on a lie – that they can deliver things and influence outcomes in a way that, in practice, they can’t.

    If anything, they’re less honest than party candidates.

    I’ve seen it happen – the indie make huge promises to deliver MORE than the major party candidates, the major party candidates unable to match these because they’re constrained by reality (ever heard an indie explain how their promises will be costed?) and then the electorate gets less…

    You have a short memory.

    Windsor, Oakeshott and Wilkie delivered on a grand scale. It was only Labor’s self-destructive tendencies that tore down that particular Govt.

  12. Good point, but this has never been Insiders strategy.

    @MarianSmedley
    4h4 hours ago

    #insiders Given that Peter Dutton is the “guest” on your show, why was your main story all about John Setka. You should have run a story on all the refugees on Manus Island who are self-harming and ask him what he will do about it.

    .

  13. As I said to begin with, Rex, Singh took a principled stand, knowing the potential costs. That’s far more admirable than switching sides for political gain, the road you think she should take.

    I took a similar road to Singh, she got a lot further than I did. I don’t regret sticking to my principles, I knew what I was doing, and it was interesting to see how far down the road I could get without joining a faction.

  14. zoomster @ #1816 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 12:54 pm

    As I said to begin with, Rex, Singh took a principled stand, knowing the potential costs. That’s far more admirable than switching sides for political gain, the road you think she should take.

    I took a similar road to Singh, she got a lot further than I did. I don’t regret sticking to my principles, I knew what I was doing, and it was interesting to see how far down the road I could get without joining a faction.

    Becoming independent is not ‘switching sides’, so your comment is mis-guided.

  15. Sky News Australia@SkyNewsAust

    .@CraigKellyMP: Climate hysteria has been the greatest recruiting tool for socialism over the last decade. The greatest danger that our kids face is socialist ideology, not climate change.

    Does Craig KellyMP even know what “socialism” is? He’s just using it as a scary word.
    Besides that, he’s illogical crazy.

  16. lizzie @ #1820 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 1:02 pm

    Sky News Australia@SkyNewsAust

    .@CraigKellyMP: Climate hysteria has been the greatest recruiting tool for socialism over the last decade. The greatest danger that our kids face is socialist ideology, not climate change.

    Does Craig KellyMP even know what “socialism” is? He’s just using it as a scary word.
    Besides that, he’s illogical crazy.

    In Kellys world it’s all about taking rather than giving. ‘Generosity’ is an obscenity.

  17. Lizzie:

    Reminds of Bronwyn Bishop’s repeated accusations that Malcolm Turnbull – former venture capitalist – was leading a socialist government, apparently because he advocated moderate positions on certain non-economic issues prior to becoming PM. (All of which, of course, she would have known about when she supported him over Abbott in the 2015 spill.)

  18. Rex, you’re just as much of a partisan as anyone else here. Your partisanship simply comes in the form of being resolutely against certain parties (specifically, your “anybody but the majors, Lib/Lab = Same/Same” philosophy), rather than resolutely supporting a party.

  19. Asha Leu @ #1825 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 1:20 pm

    Rex, you’re just as much of a partisan as anyone else here. Your partisanship simply comes in the form of being resolutely against certain parties (specifically, your “anybody but the majors, Lib/Lab = Same/Same” philosophy), rather than resolutely supporting a party.

    If you want to frame it like that, I guess I’m partisan to good social/economic policy propositions and willing to call out policy stupidity, no matter the party or individual responsible..

  20. While independents (obviously) have much more freedom when it comes to what they say and support, the ones who manage to actually achieve things invariably have to compromise on their own principles. “Consessions for support” is the name of the game for indies and minor parties, and it involves give and take. I guarantee you that Windsor and Oakeshotte and Wilkie would have supported many thing they didn’t fully agree with in exchange for getting support from Labor and the rest of their crossbench on their own pet issues, as would have previous high-profile independants like Brian Harradine. Its how its done.

  21. Having effectively isolated itself by unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Agreement as well as by imposing swingeing sanctions against Iran, the US is using the two sets of attacks on tankers to build a Coalition. (It previously built a coalition in the run up to the Iraq War, ditto the Afghanistan War).

    The announced near term aim of the Coalition is to provide close military support for commercial traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. The US is also arguing that the Coalition assets would be controlled at a single point. In other words the deployment of all Coalition members’ military assets would be controlled by the US. Further an attack or ‘attack’ on any military asset deployed in this way would inevitably be construed as an attack on all members of the Coalition. We can see where all this is going.

    The existence of such a Coalition and such close military support would presumably provide the framework within which to create a trigger for a general US military attack on Iran.

    We can be sure that Australia is being pressured right now to join this Coalition and is also being asked to provide air, drone, and naval assets.

    Why is there zero public debate on what could well be the precursor for Australian involvement in yet another Middle East War? Why has Payne not made a public comment about the mooted Coalition? Is it in Australia’s national interest to engage in yet another Middle East War? What, if anything, have we gained by the Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syrian War engagements?

    More to the point, why have the Greens not already criticized Albanese and Labor for causing the latest Straits of Hormuz Crisis?

    https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1876919/us-working-to-build-international-consensus-on-gulf-of-oman-incident-shanahan-s/

  22. I just tried to watch this mornings Insiders and have only one question, when does David Speers take over? If that’s what it’s going to be like for the rest of the year let me know when Mr Speers arrive, I’m tuning out.

  23. Bert:

    Not until next year. It’ll be a round robin of fill-ins while Speers sees out his contract with Sky News, apparently.

  24. On the subject of party unity and deviating from the party line, I do actually wish Labor MPs had a bit more freedom to break ranks from caucus on certain issues.

    But, make no mistake, the strict rules on solidarity have come about as the result of a media that will obsessively jump into any hint of an MP at odds with their party and run the story into the ground, an electorate that equates such a thing with “chaos,” and a political system and culture whereby a vote for a local MP is generally a proxy vote for the party leader. So, I can hardly blame any Australian political party that aims to avoid the media storms that inevitable erupt whenever an MP goes rogue.

    And this is an environment that you have contributed to yourself, Rex, in your own minute way, with your crowing about how Labor is “hopelessly divided in Adani” and repeated references to Mark Butler’s disagreements with the party.

  25. In fact what were my choices regarding climate change when I voted recently?

    – Labor – had a policy which would have reduced carbon emissions, which could be built upon and expanded and which seemed to have a good chance of gaining general acceptance – the latter absolutely critical if anything is to be achieved.
    – Greens – stronger policies with no chance of gaining general acceptance and no chance of being able to implement
    – Liberal – captured by the coal industry
    – Palmer – preference harvester for “Liberals”
    – One Nation, religious crackpots, assorted fascists and gun nuts – basically other species of “Liberals”

  26. Fess

    boiler plate puff piece for newly elected political leaders

    I really don’t want to know the details of every politician’s ‘lovelife’. What difference does it make? I mean, look at Barnaby (no, don’t). People are too ready to jump on to moral bandwagons as it is.

  27. lizzie:

    Harvey is the first woman leader the WA Liberals have ever had. I find it somewhat insulting that the article leads with her personal relationships rather than her achievements in her career and what she brings to the leadership and as the alternative Premier.

  28. Oh, and one other thing, Rex.

    The benefits and drawbacks of party solidarity go both ways. If, say, Labor were to have run on a strict anti-Adani platform, and some MPs in Queensland and other mining seats were to suddenly deviate from the party line and say, “Actually, no, I think we should build the mine,” I’m not sure how much you’d be praising them putting aside their partisanship and taking a principled stand then. Likewise, if we go back a few years to the Gillard carbon scheme, I reckon its almost certain it would not have passed if Labor had not been strictly enforcing party solidarity – all it would have taken was a few MPs in marginal seats spooked about the big, scary carbon tax scare campaign, and it would have been squashed.

    This, incidentally, is why Obama always had such trouble passing legislation on gun control – a majority of Democrats in caucus supported the measures, but enough Democrats in traditionally Republican or swing seats were worried about angering their constituents that he never had the numbers – the healthcare reforms faced similar hurdles, though did eventually pass. If the US Democrats had the sort of party discipline that Australian political parties did, things would have turned out pretty differently. And, of course, on the flip-side, many of the centre and centre-left would pretty thankful that the US Republican don’t have Aussie-style party discipline either. It all depends on which side of the political divide you sit on yourself, and on just what sort of principles the principled stands are being taken on.

    My point being that I don’t think you actually want party MPs to have freedom to act on principle, Rex. You want them to have the freedom to do the things you want them to do. Which is a rather different thing.

  29. Asha is right to be optimistic. The election just enabled the status quo pretty much. They are in a much better position than after 2004 and now with the Shorten barnacle removed it should fare better. A big question will be though, will the Australian public want Shorten as a minister. Never underestimate the Australian publics’ dislike of the scheming Shorten. He should leave Parliament, but where else can he earn a quid? It’s not like he can go back to rorting mushroom pickers again.

  30. lizzie says:
    Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Anyone saying this is condemned as ‘lefty’ by the complacent conservatives. This is Cassandra Goldie, the chief executive officer of the Australian Council of Social Service, who in the past I have felt leaned too far right to placate Turnbull’s mob.

    A package that increased Newstart and invested in large-scale social housing growth would be great for the economy. It will also mean some of the three million people in poverty might be able to feed themselves more and get a better roof over their head. Surely this would be a better fiscal lever than delivering large-scale tax cuts to people on the highest incomes?

    Governments are prone to lecturing us about the need to live within our means. If there was ever a case in point, it’s the choice about which fiscal policy levers we use right now or lock in for an unknown future.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/15/instead-of-locking-in-future-tax-cuts-we-should-increase-newstart-and-boost-social-housing?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Yep, exactly!

    There’s one question that I’ve never heard asked;

    Why does a person on $250,000 need an $11,000 tax cut?

    Need and equality, that was Labor’s message, but they lost control of that debate.

    Was it Menzies who basically said,

    Fuck the rich, they can take care of themselves?

    It’s certainly not a Party mantra these days!

  31. Nath:

    I think your obsession with Shorten has seriously warped your perspective here.

    I doubt a significant amount people hated Bill Shorten. Most likely, a good portion of the electorate were incapable of summoning opinions as strong as “like” or “hate” when it came to Shorten, and that was probably part of the problem.

    Now, I personally think Shorten shouldn’t be a minister either – and, in fact, would probably be best retiring before or at the next election – but for a different reason. He will simply be a distraction for Albanese, with anything he does or says being dressed up as a sign he’s gunning for the top job – the new “Albo made a speech”, if you will.

    But, aside from that, I’d be incredibly surprised if a majority of the Australian people gave a single fuck whether Shorten became a frontbencher or not. People generally don’t care a whole lot about ministers – most of the time, they don’t even know who the boring bastards are.

  32. Asha Leu @ #1842 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 2:43 pm

    Oh, and one other thing, Rex.

    The benefits and drawbacks of party solidarity go both ways. If, say, Labor were to have run on a strict anti-Adani platform, and some MPs in Queensland and other mining seats where to suddenly deviate from the party line and say, “Actually, no, I think we should build the mine,” I’m not sure how much you’d be praising them putting aside their partisanship and taking a principled stand then. Likewise, if we go back a few years to the Gillard carbon scheme, I reckon its almost certain it would not have passed if Labor had not been strictly enforcing party solidarity – all it would have taken was a few MPs in marginal seats spooked about the big, scary carbon tax scare campaign, and it would have been squashed.

    This, incidentally, is why Obama always had such trouble passing legislation on gun control – a majority of Democrats in caucus supported the measures, but enough Democrats in traditionally Republican or swing seats were worried about angering their constituents that he never had the numbers – the healthcare reforms faced similar hurdles, though did eventually pass. If the US Democrats had the sort of party discipline that Australian political parties did, things would have turned out pretty differently. And, of course, on the flip-side, many of the centre and centre-left would pretty thankful that the US Republican don’t have Aussie-style party discipline either. It all depends on which side of the political divide you sit on yourself, and on just what sort of principles the principled stands are being taken on.

    My point being that I don’t think you actually want party MPs to have freedom to act on principle, Rex. You want them to have the freedom to do the things you want them to do. Which is a rather different thing.

    The Liberal and Labor parties trying to be broad churches is counter-productive in some cases because it creates the self-wedge that in Labors case was catastrophic.

    The benefits of ‘solidarity’ to a broad based party are as real as the dangers and harm of the self-wedge.

    Independents base their policy input on their principles. If the Govt of the day accepts the principled input from an independent then that’s great for the independent.

  33. Asha Leu @ #1845 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 3:01 pm

    Nath:

    I think your obsession with Shorten has seriously warped your perspective here.

    I doubt a significant amount people hated Bill Shorten. Most likely, a good portion of the electorate were incapable of summoning opinions as strong as “like” or “hate” when it came to Shorten, and that was probably part of the problem.

    Now, I personally think Shorten shouldn’t be a minister either – and, in fact, would probably be best retiring before or at the next election – but for a different reason. He will simply be a distraction for Albanese, with anything he does or says being dressed up as a sign he’s gunning for the top job – the new “Albo made a speech”, if you will.

    But, aside from that, I’d be incredibly surprised if a majority of the Australian people gave a single fuck whether Shorten became a frontbencher or not. People generally don’t care a whole lot about ministers – most of the time, they don’t even know who the boring bastards are.

    I think voters tend to look more favourably on politicians they think are authentic, for good or bad.

    Because he was leader for 6 long yrs, voters won’t forget about Shorten until he’s gone.

    Labor would be wise to ‘manage him out’ as soon as possible.

  34. Asha, I have no obsession over Shorten, just a very dismal assessment of his character, which I believe is shared by plenty. More people than you realise understand the deals he did when at the AWU. And the RGR stuff just plays into that shiftiness. He called his book, ‘for the common good’, just like East Germany calling itself the ‘Democratic Republic’. Shorten was all about Shorten, and people saw through it.

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