NSW Senate entrails examined

A close look at the New South Wales Senate result as finalised yesterday, plus Essential Research findings on attitudes to nuclear power.

Essential Research is continuing to provide The Guardian with polling on a fortnightly basis, but is still limiting itself to issue polling in the wake of the great debacle of last month. This week’s poll is concerned with nuclear power, after a push by Queensland MPs James McGrath and Keith Pitt for a parliamentary inquiry into lifting Australia’s nuclear power ban (showing rather unfortunate timing, in view of the runaway success of HBO’s television series Chernobyl). The poll finds a slight majority of 44% to 40% in favour of Australia having nuclear power plants, compared with a 40-40 tie when Essential last posed the question in 2015 – the kicker being that only 28% said they would be comfortable living near one, with 60% disagreeing. Among the other findings, 47% per cent rated that nuclear would be better than coal-fired power for the environment.

In election counting news, the button was pressed yesterday on the New South Wales Senate result, which, foreseeably, produced three seats for the Coalition (Liberals Hollie Hughes and Andrew Bragg, and Perin Davey of the Nationals), two for Labor (Tony Sheldon and Tim Ayres) and one for the Greens (Mehreen Faruqi). Above-the-line votes accounted for 93.1% of the total, which included more than two quotas each for the Coalition and Labor (albeit just barely in the latter case). This meant the top two candidates on the Coalition and Labor tickets were elected immediately, leaving two seats to be determined by the remainder of the preference distribution. The chart below shows how this proceeded as the last eight candidates were excluded, and also shows how the main candidates were placed after the surpluses of the first four elected candidates were distributed (Count 4).

Under the old system, the entirety of the vote was effectively divided between the sixth elected candidates and the unelected seventh, who was left with what is known as the “wastage quotas”. Now that it’s possible for votes to exhaust, it becomes possible for the count to fail to deliver quotas to six candidates, in which case the final seats go to whoever comes nearest at the final count. Such was the case with the last two seats in New South Wales – 0.39 quotas exhausted, and the final three quotas were distributed between three candidates in such a way as to leave all of them short of a full quota. Two of these candidates, Davey of the Nationals and Faruqi of the Greens, finished just short with 0.97 and 0.96 quotas respectively, causing them each to be elected well ahead of Kate McCulloch of One Nation on 0.68.

The chart illustrates exactly how far Jim Molan, shown in blue, fell short of winning the third seat through the strength of his below-the-line support, notwithstanding conservative excitement that he achieved the highest below-the-line vote in Senate history – in terms of aggregate votes, which is naturally a significant qualification when considering a result from New South Wales. Molan’s total share of the first preference vote was 2.92%, some distance behind a number of recent results in Tasmania, where the rate of below-the-line voting is particularly high. His exclusion unlocked a flood of preferences to Davey that closed the gap between her and Faruqi, who were all but level for the remainder of the count.

However, a good many of Molan’s preferences flowed out of the Coalition ticket and further to the right, with 20% going to McCulloch compared with 71.5% for other Coalition candidates. McCulloch also received a strong flow of preferences when Shooters Fishers and Farmers were the last party excluded two counts later. However, this was well short of what she needed to put her in the hunt for the last two seats, for which her share of the total vote would have had to have been about 2% higher. For more details on preferences, Ross Leedham has determined four-party preferred preference flows along the same lines as I provided in yesterday’s post on the Tasmanian result, observing how small party preferences split between the Coalition, Labor, the Greens, One Nation and exhaustion.

To get a sense of how the result might have played out under the old system, I’ve had a play with Antony Green’s Senate calculator from 2013, using the results from this election where possible and judiciously allocating the residue from new parties to old ones. This suggests One Nation would have won the fifth seat at the expense of either the Coalition and the Greens, who would have been in a very tight race for the last seat. One Nation preference feeders would have included not only Shooters and Fishers, Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, the Democratic Labour Party and Australian Conservatives (nee Family First), but also leftist concerns such as Animal Justice, thanks to Glenn Druery-inspired preference networks that had nearly every micro-party preferencing each other ahead of the main three.

The button will apparently be pressed on the Western Australian result this morning and Victoria tomorrow, both of which will assuredly produce results of three Liberal, two Labor and one Greens. Not sure when Queensland and South Australia will be done.

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.

442 comments on “NSW Senate entrails examined”

  1. Investors in term-deposits should lock in their interest rate asap:

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/cba-tips-rates-to-hit-0-75-percent-within-months-as-rba-signals-further-cuts-20190618-p51ywo.html

    And, when is the Morrison Government going to adjust the two deeming rates?

    All those investors who voted for the Tories may be having second thoughts. Failure to fiscally stimulate the economy, on the false premise that a surplus is the bee’s knees, will further erode the Tories’ claim that they’re the best at managing a stagnant economy, most indicia pointing to a recession.

  2. Paul, the semi-colon serves a number of purposes: the mid-point of a compound sentence, the separation of multiple clauses, to the lesser use of emphasis. You being a lawyer, from memory, should know of the importance of same. You’re a bad, naughty boy.

  3. Investors in term-deposits should lock in their interest rate asap:

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/cba-tips-rates-to-hit-0-75-percent-within-months-as-rba-signals-further-cuts-20190618-p51ywo.html

    Was listening to some “investors”/self-funded retirees tonight on 7.30 whingeing about the cash rate. “We only get 2.5%!” they moaned.

    I’m no financial whizz kid, but have my money in Australian Super, which is paying a LOT more than 2.5%. More like 7%-9% for investments.

    I don’t need to ride my PC day and night, checking stock prices. I don’t have heart attacks every time Trump farts and causes the dollar to tank. I’m not obsessively counting my money on a continuous basis. Aus Super is set-and-forget. They even sent me an apologetic letter explaining why they had to up their fees for a particular service from $2.70 per quarter to $3.20. Now THAT is service. And the customer doesn’t have to do anything at all except deposit money.

    I put these self-funded whingers in the same basket as farmers who relentlessly clear their land, drain their rivers dry and in general try to make a buck out of untenable wasteland. When they go broke they’re the salt of the earth, deserving taxpayer subsidies. When it rains they’re raking it in, and it’s “Go get a dick in your ear, customer. This is The Market!”

    No sympathy here for either class of spiv.

  4. I just finished watching Chernobyl.

    I don’t care how modern and sophisticated the power plants are – as long as humans have ultimate control of them it just isn’t worth the risk.


  5. Mavis Davis says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Only a pedantic point, but I do wish some would learn how to use the semi-colon – no offence frednk.

    As I started commenting on blogs to practice written English, I consider that a compliment in a weird sort of way. Overuse?

  6. Paul, the semi-colon serves a number of purposes: the mid-point of a compound sentence, the separation of multiple clauses, to the lesser use of emphasis. You being a lawyer, from memory, should know of the importance of same. You’re a bad, naughty boy.

    As a grad, a week or two ago now, I tried to use them, the firm i was with disagreed.
    “Wait it is correct”
    “We don’t care it isn’t how you should write”

    In my novel i plan to self publish in 200 years when I finish it, there is some delicious and correct usage for me to enjoy.

  7. In an important political update i just purchased a trip to NZ, two weeks to scout out a colder life in a much better place.

  8. Mavis
    I’ve read articles available on the internet.

    Is it correct to say I should have written:

    Larissa is happy because the Greens delivered for the Liberals; Adani is nothing more than a great little Green wedge.

    I think the following is a miss use of a comma

    Larissa is happy because the Greens delivered for the Liberals. Adani, is nothing more than a great little Green wedge.

  9. BB, ‘Was listening to some “investors”/self-funded retirees tonight on 7.30 whingeing about the cash rate. “We only get 2.5%!” they moaned.’

    I think it was a non story. They were getting 2% on their money. So to get the equivalent of the age pension they would have had $1.5m in the bank. They can quiet easily spend their capital and when it is about half gone, they would be eligible for a part age pension.

    As you say, they should have it in super (although they appeared to be over 65 so would have to pass the work test to be able to put it into super and then only $100,000 per year) and enjoy much better returns.

  10. Whatever the story, 7.30 will invariably render it banal, boring and pedestrian.

    They managed to give the CSIRO report the same treatment with Ken Henry taking 10 minutes to say very little.

  11. Leichhardt is FNQ – not as redneck as central and NQ and largely Labor at a State level. Tourism rather than mining and a significant indigenous population.

    Capricornia is based around Rockhampton. Mining country and again largely
    Labor at a State level. Obviously Adani was not helpful. However so ancestrally Labor that remains winnable given due respect being paid by Federal Labor from now on.

    Herbert is based in Townsville is a classic marginal. All three State seats are held by Labor
    albeit by modest margins. Mining is important (at least in peoples minds) and again the attitude of Federal Labor and Anthony Albanese’s mooted populist appeal would be important.

  12. I can safely say that Ipsos is out in the field doing a poll because I just spent over an hour doing it online. However, it was about reading habits and other sundry bibs and bobs. No political questions.

  13. Pegasus says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    Voter volatility is all the go.

    Not so much. Really, we are seeing atrophy more than volatility. Yard by hard-fought hard, past-Labor voters have been seduced/frightened by the Right. A few past-Liberal voters have been attracted to Labor. In the swings and round-abouts, Labor has been losing and the Liberals have also been losing, often to the re-published 21st century version of National Socialism, PHON.

    The dysfunction in the left-of-centre is having its crippling effect. The Right plurality is now approaching 50% of the electorate. The Greens should feel particularly proud of their achievements in this respect. They have licensed voters to defect to the Crazy Mob.

    I attended a forum on climate change at UWA this evening. It was addressed by several eminent persons, including the WA Chief Scientist. As he said, and I agree with him, we have a very small opportunity to fix things. If we do not, we can conclusively say ‘We’re fucked.’

  14. sustainable future says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 4:26 pm
    “Until the left-of-centre wise up, put an end to their dysfunction and get real about the politics, they will continue to lose.”

    what does this mean briefly?

    It means:

    – recognising we have been getting beaten
    – recognising that a substantial factor in this has been the institutionalised Green/Red divide
    – recognising that as long as this division exists, Labor has almost no chance of either winning elections or enacting its platform
    – recognising that the LNP and their affiliates will continue to win
    – recognising that the LNP and their affiliates will continue to dismantle the institutions of social democracy and social justice
    – recognising that both the LNP and the Greens use Nature – the environment and climate change – to campaign against Labor and that they are repeat winners with this formula
    – recognising that unless this changes – unless the mindsets and operating platforms of the players change – we are completely fucked.

  15. The Greens are too modest. Not only did they win the re-election of Larissa, they secured the return to the Senate of Malcolm. They outperformed. The guerrilla campaign has been a huge success.

    The only downside – nay, the only slight hitch – is that the thousands of voters who rejected Labor did not enlist for the Greens. Instead they lurched for their political cousins, the LNP.

    The Greens will be thrilled, however, that Peter Dutton has been returned with an increased margin. This ensures the conspicuous maltreatment of Australia’s population of political prisoners will continue for many years to come. This is excellent news for the Greens. They do great business in exquisite depravity.

  16. They managed to give the CSIRO report the same treatment with Ken Henry taking 10 minutes to say very little.

    Nice of him to take a break from his usual stealing from customers hobby.

  17. Another great day for FIFA

    Soccer seems corrupt at every level. Our shopping centre dynasty doesn’t seem to tick too many corporate governance or probity boxes.

  18. Nice of him to take a break from his usual stealing from customers hobby.

    Or was his bank the one that systematically helped terrorists, and drug dealers move money. It is hard to keep track of their misdeeds.

    They were all very strictly punished, so that is justice in action.

  19. Defeat is sobering, nath. We have to get used to it. Greater trials await us all, no doubt. The recent difficulties should temper us for those that lie ahead.

    The nostalgia, the dream-believing, the languid myth-making….this all has to stop. We’re fucked. We have to accept this and all that follows from it. Then we might begin to face the future.

    Things will not necessarily work out for the best. We do not live in such a world. We live in a world where gains are at best hard-won and can be taken away at any time. We oscillate between fear and escape. Neither are safe refuge. They are delusion.

  20. Can I suggest people read The Conversation article on the election. Very good… And not a word about Lib-kin, Irregulars, or any other deranged name-calling.
    Very good.

  21. Astrobleme says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 11:32 pm
    Can I suggest people read The Conversation article on the election. Very good… And not a word about Lib-kin, Irregulars, or any other deranged name-calling.
    Very good.

    Unless it deals with the institutionalised dysfunction on the left-of-centre, it will likely tell us very little.

    The jobs/environment dichotomy has been used to defeat Labor again and again. This will not go away, precisely because the path of climate change is pretty well determined now. It will not go away because the economy is set to grind down on incomes and opportunities for working people.

    Unless the writer deals with the proposition “We’re fucked”, what is the point of reading it.

  22. thanks Astro. Adrian Beaumont picking up on some of my analysis:

    In my opinion, the most important reason for the Coalition’s upset victory was that Morrison was both liked and trusted by lower-educated voters, while they neither liked nor trusted Labor leader Bill Shorten.

  23. The education divide is also a proxy for the income divide, Astro. Education is doubtless a factor. But it does not by itself explain the very pronounced collapse in Labor’s PV in. Queensland. These voters did not suddenly become less educated than they were 3 years ago. Their propensity to vote for the Right has shifted significantly.

    The thing is this. Voters are afraid. But they are afraid of different things. Some voters really fear for their immediate financial well-being. Others are afraid of long-run threats. Their choices reflect their current and expected circumstances.

    All voters know that climate change is upon us. For the voters of Queensland, their immediate economic deprivations reflect the impacts of climate change in the here-and-now. They are being asked to carry the can today so others can relax a bit. They very naturally resist that.

    There is no equality of treatment here. There is inequality of sacrifice as there is inequality of benefit. The Liberals offer the comfort of denial. It’s not real comfort, but it might just pay the bills for a while.

    When the Conversation can illustrate why we’re not actually fucked, I will take them more seriously.

  24. William, as a sometime reader of your excellent site I am almost completely put off coming here by the small cadre of Labor-right morons who continually spout abusive and false drivel about the Greens and their supposed support of the LNP. It seriously destroys the quality of the conversation and drives away people with interesting things to share.

    I strongly suggest you put said morons on a final warning and then start banning them for a week at a time every time they assert that the Greens are pro Tory, are “Lib kin” etc.

    I say this as a consumer of your site, not a Green voter (I’m a union member and voted Labor this time around).

  25. Harden up, briefly. Labor needs to shift only 1-2% of voters from column A to column B. It’s hardly Putin winning 101% of the vote stuff, even if there are challenges. 2007 was only 12 years ago. If things can shift a bit one way (Qld going right) they can shift a bit the other.

    On top of which, history / factual reality is on the side of progressive / socialist politics, even if the short term cycle is not. Climate change is real. Laissez-faire late stage corporate capitalism breaking down and shafting most participants in the system is real. Boomers and their parents dying off is real.

  26. From memory Labor won 15 seats in QLD in 2007 and got just over 50% of the 2pp so under the right circumstances with the right leader there are plenty of winnable seats up here.

    Leaving the regional seats aside for a moment and looking at greater Brisbane and class, Labor did hold onto their three working class outer suburban seats on the Southside, it’s the outer suburban seats north of the river which are a bit more middle class where they got completely smashed, they now hold one seat north of the river and they only just held onto that.

    But the really interesting thing about QLD was the polling failure predicted 49 – 51 ended 41 – 59 did they really poll QLD or just pull some numbers out of thin air based loosely on the last state election?

  27. Patrick Bateman says:
    Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Climate change is real. Laissez-faire late stage corporate capitalism breaking down and shafting most participants in the system is real.

    Correct. They are both real. The response of voters in this country has been to shift their voting support to the Right. It seems counter-intuitive. But it is happening. The pro-Labor plurality is so low now – about 40% – that they cannot win.

    One of the features of Australian politics is the dysfunction on the left-of-centre. I have been drawing attention to this for some time, trying to use inventive terms to do so and to persuade bludgers to pay attention to the dysfunction. This is working. That’s good, because unless we fix the dysfunction the Right will continue to win.

  28. Patrick you have my sympathies.

    If it helps, Ive figured out that if you can avoid logging on roughly around the hours of about 6-8pm, thats when a certain member usually has his “happy hour” and goes into automated troll mode about RDN and the greens, which invariably triggers all the other usual suspects. Fortunately it doesnt last very long, but it is incessant while it lasts.

  29. Patrick Bateman says:
    Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 12:02 am

    I am almost completely put off coming here by the small cadre of Labor-right morons

    I’m from the Left.

    The Greens campaign at all times and in all places against Labor. This helps the Liberals. This is very obvious to even the most casual on-looker. Green voters are Labor-positive, on the whole. The Green Party is not. They hate Labor, thru and thru. They have never denied it.

  30. William, as a sometime reader of your excellent site I am almost completely put off coming here by the small cadre of Labor-right morons who continually spout abusive and false drivel about the Greens and their supposed support of the LNP.

    Others hold similar views about Greens morons who continually spout abusive and false drivel about Labor, so I’m not sure where this leaves me exactly.

  31. Others hold similar views about Greens morons who continually spout abusive and false drivel about Labor, so I’m not sure where this leaves me exactly.

    There are times when the right thing to do is to lash out randomly – this may be one of those times!

  32. Good Morning Bludgers from Krakow in Poland. No longer are these people suffering hardships – safely in the EU and internet speeds to die for. This in my humble Airbnb…

    Perhaps the debacle which is Fraudband could be one issue for the ALP spokespeople to bag out. Rinse and repeat. I think Albo gets this.

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