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”

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  1. Does anyone know what is going on with Jane Caro? The Australian seems to have started on of its jihad’s against her.

    She seem pretty mild to me, and I have not seen that she has done or said anything lately that should particularly upset them.

    I think she said that she would move to NZ if the L/NP won the election, but she is hardly alone in that.

  2. And people say Democrats are struggling.

    Senate Republicans and the Trump administration are struggling to reach an agreement on a path forward on critical budget and spending issues, threatening not only another government shutdown and deep spending cuts but a federal default that could hit the economy hard.

    GOP leaders have spent months cajoling President Trump in favor of a bipartisan budget deal that would fund the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing this fall, but their efforts have yet to produce a deal. And the uncertain path forward was underscored a few days ago at the Capitol, when a budget meeting between key Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and senior White House officials left out Democrats, whose votes will be imperative to avoid a shutdown and an economy-shaking breach of the federal debt limit.

    “We’re negotiating with ourselves right now,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.). “The president, the administration, has some views, maybe, that are a little different sometimes than the Senate Republicans have. So we’re trying to see if we can be together as best we can.”–and-default/2019/06/15/6a61e6dc-8ded-11e9-8f69-a2795fca3343_story.html?utm_term=.f344eadaad14

  3. Player One @ #2042 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 9:42 pm

    a r @ #2037 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 9:36 pm

    Labor fighting to take primary votes off of the Greens is a zero sum game.

    Each primary vote is worth $2.756.

    That’s hardly a ‘zero sum game’!

    Sure it is. The total number of dollars that go to left/progressive parties stays the same in any case.

    The one exception would be if Labor managed to reduce the Greens vote to somewhere between 0% and the minimum threshold to receive funds from the AEC. In which case the total number of dollars going to left/progressive parties actually suffers a net loss.

    Which is worse than a zero sum game.

    frednk @ #2043 Sunday, June 16th, 2019 – 9:42 pm

    Why would any party surrender to another whose sole aim is it’s destruction?

    The motives you ascribe to the Greens aren’t plausible. Or at least, I’d be amazed if “destroy the Labor party” appears anywhere in their official policy platform or party manifesto.

  4. says:
    Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    maybe we should all accept that the liberals are here to rule us and to enjoy the spanking which we richly deserve for being so bad…….

    Labor have won just a single election since 1996. Their standing is weaker now than at any time for more than a century. They have been unable to increase their PV even though the incumbent Liberal Government is the worst in our history. The left-of-centre voices are very deeply divided. On the most important questions facing the country – the economy and the environment – the electorate has been split in two and the Right have been winning quite convincingly in most places.

    This is not the 20th century re-visited. It is the 21st century. The past no longer conditions popular loyalties and behaviours. Rather, all the action is on the Right. The growth in parties, ideas, popular support is on the Right…really, the crazy right. ON poll as well as the Greens in the areas where they contest seats. Consider the significance of that. The Right are winning. The distress in the economy and the environment and the fears that arise from this distress will only continue to get worse. The Right know well how to exploit these fears. They will chance their arm and they will likely win even more convincingly. Get used to it.

  5. On the DLP, it should be remembered that a big part of the damage they managed to do to Labor came from their preference deals with the Coalition – if not for that, Calwell probably would have beaten Menzies in 1961. And they were partly able to get away with this thanks to the fact that ballot papers did not display the party name at the time – so, any sufficiently disengaged voter following the DLP how-to-vote card didn’t really know where they were putting their preferences.

  6. briefly:

    I understand your despondency given you campaigned hard for Labor the last 6 years. However, I do believe you are working yourself into a state that is without foundation.

    Things aren’t as gloomy as you perceive.

  7. The ascendancy of the right in Australia is mirroring trends around the world. It started with Thatcher and Regan, but then people like Howard in Australia grabbing government for so long means that what people under 30 now consider “centrist” seems hard right to me.

    Boris Johnston is almost certain to be the next British PM, and Esther McVey, who has been eliminated as a PM candidate, has thrown her support behind BoJo, saying he can turn the blue collar vote )or flour vest vote I would call it these days) Tory.

    What used to be the working class have become very conservative, and will not consider any of their taxes going to support the ill, the unemployed or the disadvantaged. Poverty in Britain is at frightening levels for an OECD country. It is also the only OECD country where average lifespan is going backwards, as far as I am aware.

    British adults’ life expectancy has been cut by six months in the biggest reduction in official longevity forecasts.

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, which calculates life expectancy on behalf of the UK pension industry, declined to speculate on why longevity is deteriorating for men and women in England and Wales. Some analysts, however, blame austerity and cuts in NHS spending, others point to worsening obesity, dementia and diabetes.

    The institute said it now expects men aged 65 to die at 86.9 years, down from its previous estimate of 87.4 years, while women who reach 65 are likely to die at 89.2 years, down from 89.7 years.

    The actuaries said the evidence of slowing life expectancy that first emerged around 2010-11 is “a trend as opposed to a blip”.
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    Falling longevity has accelerated. Last year’s analysis cut forecasted life expectancy by two months. This year it took off another six months.

    Compared with 2015, projections for life expectancy are now down by 13 months for men and 14 months for women.

  8. Asha, Labor did not win in 2010. They were propped up after being beaten to the line by Abbott. The 201o, 2013, 2019 elections were all decided on the relative weights given to jobs and incomes vs climate change. Labor lost each time.

    The dynamics of this mean Labor will go on losing. The Liberals have figured out how to use the environment to defeat Labor in the marginals. They win. The Greens have figured out how to fight Labor among the bourgeoisie. They also win.

  9. Asha,

    Perhaps I just hallucinated the years between 2010 and 2013, but I’m pretty sure Labor was re-elected in 2010.

    No, Labor was not re-elected. If Oakeshott and Windsor had not supported Labor we would have had Abbott PM three years earlier. Both men paid a high political price for that support.

    And to Adam Bandt’s credit, he came out as soon as he was elected to say he would support Labor.

  10. Snap Briefly.

    However, it might benefit you to stay away from he News for a week or two. It helps with mental health, and then we can think of ways forward.

    However, we have a big task. Australia is just following worldwide trends, and that means we will find it harder to have a progressive government.

  11. Confessions, I’m not ‘despondent’. I am responding to the expressions I’ve seen first hand among voters in the election. There is a lot of data.

    The pre-election period was characterised by the assumption that Labor would win. This was a delusion. The same assumption – that Labor will win – is still in place. It remains a delusion. The contrary is a better assumption. There is no reason to think Labor will win. None. The factor that most-hindered Labor, the dysfunction in left-of-centre politics, is just the same. It will keep Labor out of office as long as it persists.

  12. For what its worth, I have pretty much needed to do this. I checked the front-page of the SMH a little while ago – it was all “Coalition, what Coalition”.

  13. briefly:

    I believe the next election is winnable. The govt have no agenda, no plan, nothing on which to build a 3 year term of government. They have a whisper thin majority, and a C Team in Cabinet. All is not lost.

  14. Thanks D&M.

    I’m in fine form, really. We lost an election. Well, far worse things – many times worse – have happened to me. I have no real remorse. Rather, I feel relief it was not much more severe. I think we have to get smarter, tougher, more vocal, more defiant, more insistent, more courageous. If we do not, we will be letting ourselves down and we will be letting down all those people who count on us.

    We have to change the ways we think and act. We have been acting from weakness. This is self-fulfilling, really. It will ensure more defeats. We have to find our strength and use it.

  15. Labor formed government in 2010. They governed for the full three years. That counts as an election win in my book, regardless of whether it resulted in a majority or minority government.

  16. The Coalition just scraped in both in 2016 and 2019. If Shorten had not been leader the ALP would have won both those elections. Never underestimate the dislike for Littlefinger. It is palpable in the electorate.

  17. Right at this moment, precisely 50 years ago, the Apollo 11 crew had just been sealed within the cabin with 2 hours remaining until launch.

  18. Confessions….they do have a plan but they have not made much of it. They want to practically abolish progressive taxation. They will continue their assault on the welfare system and intensify the campaign against unions. They will pursue an overtly anti-environmental agenda. They will find ways to open and then exploit new divisions and fears. They will find new ways to cut into social justice – to defund public education and health, to chop the social budgets in the States.

    This is their basic manifesto. They need nothing else. It will all be justified by the promise of more jobs and by amplifying fear of Labor. It has worked several times. It will continue to work for them.

    Meanwhile, the left-of-centre will remain divided and dysfunctional.

  19. Last night I met a young teacher. She teaches English at one of the ‘tough’ public high schools in the southern suburbs. She has students who are barely literate. She has others that want to excel. She seemed to me to be deeply committed to her profession. She told me she has to buy the books the class needs for their curriculum. She is often ‘out of pocket’.

    Today I met a young woman, roughly the same age. She has had a career in PR and journalism. She’s a smart and warm person, with great vitality and an ability to engage easily. She’s just started a new job, which is as the PR and communications manager for one of Perth’s elite private schools. She will be very good at it. She will never be out of pocket and nor will the English teachers at this school.

    This is Australia. The Right are winning. Get used to it. Do something about it.

  20. Asha, nath….denial is implicit in the dysfunction we can all see. Leave it behind. Everything that was achieved in this country by the three great Governments of the 20th century – Curtin/Chifley, Gough and Hawke – is up for grabs. Every last achievement is in peril.

  21. one of Perth’s elite private schools.
    Yeah, and Bill ‘Xavier College’ Shorten was really the man to address that issue. In 2015 Shorten claimed that penalty rates was central to ‘aspirational’ Australians who want to send their kids to private schools:

    Bill Shorten has offered one of the more startling defences of penalty rates advanced by a Labor leader, elevating private education as the dream of Australian workers.

    “For people on 40 and 50 and 60,000 dollars a year, penalty rates are the difference as to whether they can afford to send their kids to a private school, whether or not they can afford to pay the mortgage,” he propounded on Monday.

  22. there is not one ‘elite private school’ in Perth that could hold a candle to Xavier College in terms of exclusivity and elitism. believe me.

  23. Of course what Shorten was saying was that people on 50 or 60k need to get their kids into private schools and away from kids whose parents were on 20 or 3ok. Need I say more.

  24. funny how you stand aghast at the privileges of elite private schools when so many of the ALP front bench attended them. THey are ALP member producing factories. WHy? Because :

    Nowadays, there is no discernible difference between the factions. They exist only as grubby job-creation schemes for those within the factions, who would, metaphorically speaking, kill their own mother to become an MP and, from there, a millionaire ,then later, if you are halfway smart, a multimillionaire.

  25. Richard Marles went to 40k a year Geelong Grammar or christ sake. Deputy leader fof Australian Labor Party. Fucking hilarious.

  26. The very sad thing is that the share of enrolments at the secondary level in private schools had been rising to about 50%. This is a troubling reflection on the quality of public education. This share is now declining, especially in the newer schools, as household income stress and a faltering labour market take effect. It is no wonder at all that voters are angry.

  27. briefly:

    That has been the Coalition’s plan for as long as the Liberal party has existed, and they have never been able to implement it in a way it sticks.

    My hope is that Morrison in hubris over-reaches, just as Howard did circa 2004, but with none of the electoral capital Howard had.

  28. I just can’t work out why you are so against elite private schools when so many ALP members attended them. Seems strange.

  29. I want every young person to have access to the best education, starting with early childhood care and continuing through to the very best opportunities in tertiary and other post-secondary education. This is not possible under the Liberals or the ‘nathionals’….they are against the education of the people.

  30. Briefly @10:26PM
    “…I think we have to get smarter, tougher, more vocal, more defiant, more insistent, more courageous. If we do not, we will be letting ourselves down and we will be letting down all those people who count on us.”


  31. caf – Wow. You have just taken me back to the wide eyed young school kid sitting in front of a small black and white TV set in the school assembly hall watching the events that were to occur in the following days. Maybe you might be able to distract a few other bludgers from the Lab / Greens wars for a few minutes to remember those far away glorious few days.

  32. Both Marles and Shorten went to elite private schools, over 30k a year, both became lawyers and then went to work for the unions, because clearly workers needed Xavier and Geelong Grammar alumni to organize them. Actually elevating a smart worker from inside the union? Don’t be ridiculous. Of course they have both assumed leadership positions now in the pursuit of power, which was why they joined right wing unions like the AWU and the TWU in the first place. So they could organize uninformed workers and use them as tools for their own advancement to be ministers and prime minister.


    The 1961 result would, almost certainly, have gone the ALP`s way if party names have been on the ballot paper. The House of Reps election result was 62 Coalition, 60 (+2 territory seats that only voted on certain restricted matters) ALP, 0 others. The ALP would almost certainly have won Maribynong (0.8% margin, 17.4% DLP vote with 88.4% of preferences flowing to the Liberal) and probably at least one other (such an Bennelong and/or Moreton).

  34. I would like to see the private school sector shrink to the 5-10% it is in comparable countries. They cherry-pick, residualising public schools. It’s all about choice? Fine, if the wealthy or religious don’t want to send their children to public schools, they don’t have to. We don’t have to support their choice.

  35. Caf @10:32. A momentous day. I recall watching it on a black and white TV in a lecture hall in the Carslaw Building at Sydney Uni with a couple of hundred other students.

    I think you might be a month out, however. 50th anniversary is next month.

  36. Richard Marles, a grown man, has a collection of around 500 snow domes. What better person to reconnect the ALP to the working class:

  37. “Both Marles and Shorten went to elite private schools, over 30k a year, both became lawyers and then went to work for the unions” What they should have done is devoted their careers to helping the wealthy and big corporations evade / avoid paying tax.

    “because clearly workers needed Xavier and Geelong Grammar alumni to organize them. “ Well, they chose them, presumeably because they thought they could best represent their interests

    “Actually elevating a smart worker from inside the union? Don’t be ridiculous. Of course they have both assumed leadership positions now in the pursuit of power, which was why they joined right wing unions like the AWU and the TWU in the first place. “ You do talk a lot of crap don’t you.

    “So they could organize uninformed workers and use them as tools for their own advancement to be ministers and prime minister.” What, they should have spread fear and lies to win office like your preferred party has just done.

  38. the nathional party is a Pro-Lib /Labor-hostile music box… deprecation will be amplified and put out on endless replay….

  39. because clearly workers needed Xavier and Geelong Grammar alumni to organize them. “ Well, they chose them, presumeably because they thought they could best represent their interests
    The workers didn’t choose them. THey were brought in by right factional union operatives to organize worker numbers, in many cases the workers had no idea they were actually in a union. It was about getting deals with bosses who would then sign their workers up to the union, pay the dues and get a compliant EBA.

  40. The nathionals never justify their Rightist leanings. They simply invoke phobias. They have nothing in their jackets but fear and resentment. What a disgrace they are.

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