Of plagues and houses

Results finalised on Queensland’s two status quo state by-election results, and COVID-19 question marks over looming elections in New Zealand, the Northern Territory and for two Tasmanian upper house seats.

Counting has concluded for the Currumbin and Bundamba by-elections of a fortnight ago, with Laura Gerber retaining Currumbin for the Liberal National Party by a 1.5% margin against a 1.8% swing to Labor, and Lance McCallum retaining Bundamba for Labor by a 9.6% margin ahead of second-placed One Nation (UPDATE: Make that a 1.2% margin in Currumbin and 9.8% in Bundamba). As noted previously, the flow of Greens preferences to Labor in Currumbin was relatively weak, though not quite decisively so. Deep within the innards of the ECQ’s media feed, it says that Greens preferences were going 1738 to Labor (72.8%) and 651 (27.2%), though this can’t be based on the final figures since the Greens received 2527 rather than 2389 votes. Had Labor received 79.17% of Greens preferences, as they did in the corresponding federal seat of McPherson last May, the margin would have been pared back from 567 (1.5%) to 215 (0.5%).

I have three tables to illustrate the results in light of the highly unusual circumstances of the election, the first of which updates one that appeared in an early post, recording the extent to which voters in the two seats changed their behaviour with respect to how they voted. Election day voting obviously fell dramatically, as voters switched to pre-poll voting and, to only a slightly lesser extent, outright abstention. What was not seen was a dramatic increase in postal voting, which will require investigation given the considerable anecdotal evidence that many who applied for postal votes did not receive their ballots on time — an even more contentious matter in relation to the mess that unfolded in Wisconsin on Tuesday, on which I may have more to say at a later time.

The next two tables divide the votes into four types, polling places, early voting, postal and others, and record the parties’ vote shares and swings compared with 2017, the latter shown in italics. In both Currumbin and Bundamba, Labor achieved their weakest results in swing terms on polling day votes, suggesting Labor voters made the move from election day to pre-poll voting in particularly large numbers, cancelling out what had previously been an advantage to the LNP in pre-poll voting. This is matched by a particularly strong swing against the LNP on pre-polls in Currumbin, but the effect is not discernible in Bundamba, probably because the picture was confused by the party running third and a chunk of its vote being lost to One Nation, who did not contest last time.

In other COVID-19 disruption news:

• The Northern Territory government has rejected calls from what is now the territory’s official opposition, Terry Mills’ Territory Alliance party (UPDATE: Turns out I misheard here – the Country Liberal Party remains the opposition, as Bird of Paradox notes in comments), to postpone the August 22 election. Of the practicalities involved in holding the election under a regime of social distancing rules, which the government insists will be in place for at least six months, Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison offers only that “the Electoral Commission is looking at the very important questions of how we make sure that in the environment of COVID-19 that we do this safely”.

• After an initial postponement from May 2 to May 30, the Tasmanian government has further deferred the periodic elections for the Legislative Council seats of Huon and Rosevear, promising only that they will be held by the time the chamber sits on August 25. Three MLCs have written to the Premier requesting that the elections either be held by post or for the terms of the existing members, which will otherwise expire, to be extended through to revised polling date.

• The junior partner in New Zealand’s ruling coalition, Winston Peters of New Zealand First, is calling for the country’s September 19 election to be postponed to November 21, which has also elicited positive noises from the opposition National Party. It might well be thought an element of self-interest is at work here, with Peters wishing to put distance between the election and a donations scandal that has bedeviled his party, and National anticipating a short-term surge in government support amid the coronavirus crisis. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may be softening in her opposition to the notion, saying earlier this week it would “depend on what alert level we are at”. There has regrettably been no polling of voting intention in New Zealand in two months, although the government recorded enormously encouraging results in a Colmar Brunton poll on handling of the pandemic in New Zealand and eight other countries, conducted last week.

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.

1,986 comments on “Of plagues and houses”

Comments Page 31 of 40
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  1. Socrates,

    “The models were waaaay out.”

    The models didn’t factor in behaviour changes nor did they (or could they) factor in how the virus would respond. As they say “all models are wrong, but some are useful”.

    My lecturer who taught me mathematical modelling used to have some other comments – some of which I can’t repeat. (To the effect of beware the motives of some who are asking for modelling).

  2. SamraTW: “Also regarding Tasmania. Before today North West Tasmania already had the worst health index score in Australia. From today ~100,000 people just lost over two-thirds of their barely functioning health system during the worst pandemic in over 100 years.”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-01/coronavirus-regional-health-risk-factors/12088072

    I don’t particularly want to go into bat for the Tasmanian hospital system (although I have to say that all of my experiences of it, and those of my family, have been very positive).

    But, as the article you have linked shows, the low health index score in N-W Tasmania relates significantly to the average age of its population: and, as chronicled by comedians such as Hannah Gadsby, a lot of the young people who grow up in N-W Tasmania consider the best thing to come out of the region is the road heading east, and many of them take a one way trip along it (and/or fly to the mainland) as soon as they finish school.

    And, if the rumours going around are correct, the breakout of coronavirus at the hospital was due to a significant number of the staff there attending a party to which one of the guests brought the disease: a bit like the Stanwell Tops wedding scenario. So, assuming the rumoured party was a private event, there really wasn’t much that anyone in charge of the hospital could have done to prevent that. The staff should have known better, but people are people.

    I think the people of N-W Tasmania will be ok. As I understand it, the plan was always to bring the severe coronavirus cases to Royal Hobart Hospital, which is very well prepared (and, like most hospitals through the rest of the country, currently quite under-utilised)

  3. Ryan Struyk‏Verified account @ryanstruyk

    Reported US coronavirus cases via @CNN:

    6 weeks ago: 89 cases
    5 weeks ago: 558 cases
    4 weeks ago: 3,485 cases
    3 weeks ago: 34,276 cases
    2 weeks ago: 139,714 cases
    1 week ago: 337,620 cases
    Right now: 556,044 cases

    Reported US coronavirus deaths via @CNN:

    4 weeks ago: 65 deaths
    3 weeks ago: 413 deaths
    2 weeks ago: 2,425 deaths
    1 week ago: 9,643 deaths
    Right now: 22,073 deaths

  4. Diogenes @ #1455 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:50 am

    OC
    “A s**tload of money has been pumped into the system and currently I can see a lot of people getting antsy waiting for the crisis.”
    The models were waaaay out. It is literally the quietest time any of the public or private hospitals have had in decades.

    No, the models were probably accurate. But we changed our behaviour because of them. If you want to see what would have happened had we not done so, the US would be a good place to start.

    In any case, if the “save the economy, release the virus!” idiots get their way, you may still get to see just how accurate the models were 🙁

  5. ‘ItzaDream says:
    Monday, April 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Bw

    Anything to report on the War Memorial and indigenous veterans, asking in total ignorance.’

    The War Memorial is based on the National Foundation Myth. It is not allowed (apparently by virtue of its legislation) to even mention the Frontier Wars which lasted far longer and which killed far more people than any of the wars the War Memorial IS allowed to memorialize.

    IMO, it (now) does a reasonable job of conveying the role of Indigenous vets in WW1 and WW2.

    The War Memorial is going to be facing an interesting time when the Afghanistan war crimes investigations are complete, when related charges are laid, and when related trials get going. (I make the assumption that four years of investigations of a rumoured 55 ‘incidents’ the Report will lead to further legal activity.

    One of the War Memorial’s prized exhibits is of a uniform of a (named) Afghanistan War vet. The latter is, I understand, under investigation in relation to allegations of a significant war crime.

  6. The British NHS better get what was promised to it before the election by BoJo and one hell of a serious upgrade in acknowledgement of the help they provided to him.

  7. shellbell says:
    Monday, April 13, 2020 at 12:30 pm
    BW

    In honour of the hattrick of zero cases, a tram ride may be in order.

    OH has forbidden me from riding trams or buses ever since a suspected covid-19 case caught a bus in Canberra. It’s a pity as I used to catch the bus frequently and benefit from free travel for over 70s in the ACT.

  8. Cud

    I can’t take the credit for that one!

    But as a person who does modelling of behaviour in a different field, I have no criticism of modellers who, confronted with a contagious lethal illness with no cure, make conservative assumptions. I would too. Until they know better, caution in such circumstances is sensible!

    Just as, if you had a cruise ship approaching with hundreds of sick passengers on board who may or may not have Covid-19, you would not just let them wander off, would you? That would be dangerously irresponsible.

  9. Boerwar @ #1504 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 12:46 pm

    ‘ItzaDream says:
    Monday, April 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Bw

    Anything to report on the War Memorial and indigenous veterans, asking in total ignorance.’

    The War Memorial is based on the National Foundation Myth. It is not allowed (apparently by virtue of its legislation) to even mention the Frontier Wars which lasted far longer and which killed far more people than any of the wars the War Memorial IS allowed to memorialize.

    IMO, it (now) does a reasonable job of conveying the role of Indigenous vets in WW1 and WW2.

    The War Memorial is going to be facing an interesting time when the Afghanistan war crimes investigations are complete, when related charges are laid, and when related trials get going. (I make the assumption that four years of investigations of a rumoured 55 ‘incidents’ the Report will lead to further legal activity.

    One of the War Memorial’s prized exhibits is of a uniform of a (named) Afghanistan War vet. The latter is, I understand, under investigation in relation to allegations of a significant war crime.

    Thank you.

  10. SA’s coronavirus hotline will be significantly expanded with training for 850 new call centre staff beginning this week

    The hotline – 1800 253 787 – has received more than 15,000 calls in three weeks as the public clamours for information ranging from symptoms, self isolation rules and travel bans to many simply needing reassurance.

  11. Diogenes @ #1435 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:29 am

    Excellent article in Cell on the genomics of coronavirus.
    Looks like bat reservoir (those bats are a serious problem), pangolin intermediate and then human.
    Calls for mammals to be banned from wet markets.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.03.035

    How you concluded from the article that it suggested a pangolin intermediate is beyond me. It was mentioned as an example of a possibility, but in no way was it posited as a strong possibility, or probability.

    This is the critical passage.
    ‘The Guangdong pangolin viruses are particularly closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in the RBD, containing all six of the six key mutations thought to shape binding to the ACE2 receptor and exhibiting 97% amino acid sequence similarity (although they are more divergent from SARS-CoV-2 in the remainder of the genome). Although pangolins are of great interest because of how frequently they are involved in illegal trafficking and their endangered status, that they carry a virus related to SARS-CoV-2 strongly suggests that a far greater diversity of related betacoronaviruses exists in a variety of mammalian species but has yet to be sampled.’

    Note: ‘they are more divergent from SARS-CoV-2 in the remainder of the genome’. Hence, highly unlikely to be direct antecedent of human infection.

    The discussion of the likelihood of unseen background infection of a large number of people, well before the identification of the new virus, is most interesting.

    Final sentence is:
    ‘While our intimate relationship with the animal world means we cannot build impregnable barriers, stronger action against the illegal wildlife trade and removing all mammalian (and perhaps avian) wildlife from wet markets will provide an important buffer.’

    Given bird flu, why would one hesitate about ‘avian’.

  12. Victoria,

    It was a genuine question. With the high-profile Kennedy’s environmental credentials, I didn’t want to dismiss it out of hand.
    Save your sarcasm for worthier, nastier targets.
    Sheesh.

  13. I do like Stanley.

    Highfield gave me the heebee jeebees and aren’t there little penguins wandering around the beachside streets?

  14. Just brought to my attention was a line from Gitten’s article re Scrott magnanimously handing out the ‘JobKeeper Allowance” etc .Please insert the world’s largest Vomit emoji.
    .

    In all, a Christlike turn for the good

  15. It’s much better to overestimate COVID 19 and over-prepare than get it wrong on the downside. You just have to look around to see how bad it might have been and, God forbid, may yet be, for example at the USA, Italy and Spain. If we were doing as badly as those counties on a per capita basis, our case numbers would be about 43,000, 67,000 or 91,000 respectively, still rapidly going up, instead of being 6,322. Deaths would be well North of a thousand.

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

  16. poroti @ #1517 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 1:02 pm

    Just brought to my attention was a line from Gitten’s article re Scrott magnanimously handing out the ‘JobKeeper Allowance” etc .Please insert the world’s largest Vomit emoji.
    .

    In all, a Christlike turn for the good

    Why do so many RWNJ bow down before a raging lefty like Jesus ..?

  17. shellbell: “I do like Stanley. Highfield gave me the heebee jeebees and aren’t there little penguins wandering around the beachside streets?

    Stanley is beautiful and Highfield is one of the more interesting historic sites in Australia IMO.

    If the virus succeeds in knocking interstate and international tourism for six for the next few years, I worry about the future of Stanley and for rest the Circular Head area (basically, the N-W part of N-W Tasmania). The tourism sector is really the only growth industry in the area and, despite its success, unemployment rates remain high, as does the use of illicit drugs such as ice. Smithton – Hannah Gadsby’s home town and the largest in the area – is already a somewhat depressing place to visit, but it could get much worse.

  18. Question for the docs here..

    My friend in QLD is still telling me he has potential symptoms (night sweats etc).
    Yeah I know, could be stress, could be something else.. but.. that’s beside the point.

    The point is, has QLD eased its testing rules to allow GP discretion and to take into account prior symptoms?

  19. Boerwar @ #1456 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 11:51 am

    Q
    What is the evidence of a causal link (as opposed to selected correlations) between habitat destruction and an increase in new zoonotic diseases?

    Did they control for:

    (a) increased human population
    (b) increased density of human population
    (c) increased volume and speed of human travel
    (d) increased human consumption of wildlife.

    Dotard level analysis and wilful ignorance of scientific literature
    Say something useful when you’ve got more than any empty opinion on the matter

  20. That the predictions overshot the mark is fine, but their use to discredit decision makers, particular public servants who were being advised, was not.

  21. Rex: “Why do so many RWNJ bow down before a raging lefty like Jesus ..?”

    I don’t know that he was that much of a lefty: more of a Nimbin-style anarchist who didn’t believe in getting a job, the market, money, etc.

    Also, didn’t he once say:

    “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath”

    which sounds a bit the “neoliberalism” some people on PB bang on about all the time.

  22. meher baba @ #1488 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 1:07 pm

    shellbell: “I do like Stanley. Highfield gave me the heebee jeebees and aren’t there little penguins wandering around the beachside streets?

    Stanley is beautiful and Highfield is one of the more interesting historic sites in Australia IMO.

    If the virus succeeds in knocking interstate and international tourism for six for the next few years, I worry about the future of Stanley and for rest the Circular Head area (basically, the N-W part of N-W Tasmania). The tourism sector is really the only growth industry in the area and, despite its success, unemployment rates remain high, as does the use of illicit drugs such as ice. Smithton – Hannah Gadsby’s home town and the largest in the area – is already a somewhat depressing place to visit, but it could get much worse.

    Wouldn’t Tasmanian isolation make Ice consumption plummet?

  23. yabba
    Don’t forget Boris was wearing a “Save the Pangolin” T shirt when he was jogging.
    That pretty much clinched it for me. 🙂

  24. meher baba @ #1527 Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 1:11 pm

    Also, didn’t he once say:

    “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath”

    which sounds a bit the “neoliberalism” some people on PB bang on about all the time.

    Only a neoliberal would have assumed he was talking about money! 🙂

  25. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath”

    It is difficult to know whether Jesus was accurately quoted or whether someone just made up a quote hundreds of years after the event. I think that this passage is actually very progressive. It says that people who add a lot of value to society – drivers, sanitation workers, cleaners, retail workers, hospitality workers and so on – deserve much higher pay and far more secure employment conditions than what they currently have. Whereas people whose roles are not socially useful – like many in finance, corporate law, public relations, corporation communications, advertising – should get a lot less income or be redeployed to more useful roles.

  26. Chrisken

    This Kennedy is an anti vaxxer. Which is all well and good. But suggesting that Bill Gates is some type of Lex Luthor villain is beyond parody.
    I dont understand the need for some people to believe that they have been endowed with some special secret conspiratorial knowledge.
    It does need to be called out

  27. poroti

    “ Scrott works damned hard not to be “Christ like” so it makes for quite a !!!”

    I can’t easily see the Liberals doing any sort of passion play. Can you imagine the fight over who would get to play Judas? But if they did one, I imagine Scomo would make a good Pontius Pilate, washing his hands over every policy error. Then again, if Turnbull were directing Scomo might get to do a cameo as Judas as well. It would be a Rupert Murdoch production, of course.

  28. Greg Hunt says Australia now has 6,335 people diagnosed with Covid-19

    Of those

    61 people have died

    238 people are in hospital

    81 are in intensive care

    35 are on ventilators

    More than half have recovered

  29. The Guardian

    Doctor Christine Selvey says NSW health authorities are worried about the potential for community outbreak in these areas:

    Penrith local government area, Liverpool, Blacktown, Cumberland and the Westmead areas. Also people in the inner west of Sydney, in eastern Sydney in Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick. Also in Ryde in the northern Sydney local government area. We are continuing to have the same messages for people in Manning and Lake Macquarie area in Newcastle.


  30. lizzie says:
    Monday, April 13, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Michael Rowland
    @mjrowland68
    · 21m
    Thanks for all the feedback on our chat with Daniel Wild from @TheIPA this morning. It’s our role at the ABC to accommodate, and test, all viewpoints in Australian society, not just from one side of the spectrum. Thanks for watching! @BreakfastNews @abcnews #yourAbc

    I bet the feedback wasn’t friendly!

    On the plus side, they are exposing the IPA for what they are, a bunch of wackos willing to sacrifice a couple of hundred thousand Australians to the economy.

  31. I think we are not too far away from a millenium bug situation. This is where, having done the hard yards, spent billions of dollars ensuring something DOESN’T happen the right get upset and decry it as a waste of time and money because NOTHING HAPPENED.
    I suspect within perhaps 2 or 3 weeks we’ll have business people crying that since only a few thousand people got it and they were all old and likely to die anyway it’s been a waste of time having the lockdown, they’ll be arguing for everything to be opened again.
    Of course unlike the millenium bug this isn’t a fix once fix forever event. If we go out early and don’t rigorously test and contain until we’ve got a vaccine it’ll all be for nought.
    Having said that I think we’re probably screwed anyway, compared to what’s coming with Climate Change this is nothing and also to remain in power the right of politics, having spent decades cheering on the benefits of Globalism is now doing a swift 180 degree pivot to nationalism and sovereignty. If we end 2020 not having entered a global war I think we’ll be lucky.

  32. My sister-in-law who was in self quarantine after returning home from Victoria was twice visited by SA police to confirm her whereabouts.

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