Conclusion: Saturday, October 24
What are apparently the final distributions have been posted, so we look to have a final result of Labor 10 (down two), Liberal nine (down two) and Greens six (up four), with 2-2-1 results everywhere except Kurrajong, where the Greens won a second seat to secure a 2-1-2 result. Johnathan Davis of the Greens won the last seat in Brindabella ahead of Labor’s Taimus Werner-Gibbins, resulting in 2-2-1 rather than 3-2, and Peter Cain won a second seat for the Liberals in Ginninderra ahead of a third for Labor by edging out incumbent Gordon Ramsay, resulting in 2-2-1 rather than 3-1-1.
When I last analysed the count in Brindabella a full week ago, Werner-Gibbins led Davis by seven at the key point in the count, which ended up being an 82 vote advantage to Davis. Unsuccessful Liberal Andrew Wall landed 110 votes clear of Werner-Gibbins at this point of the count; if he had fallen behind, his preferences would have decided the result between the other two. In Ginninderra, Labor’s hope of ekeing out a third seat by re-electing Gordon Ramsay disappeared over the week as Liberal candidate Peter Cain’s 271 vote deficit against Ramsay at the key count has turned into a 167 vote advantage.
End of Saturday night
Let’s start with the big picture. Labor’s overall vote appears to be entirely unchanged from 2016 at 38.4%; the Liberals are down from 36.7% to 33.4%; and the Greens are up from 10.3% to 13.5%. It is clear there will continue to be a Labor government relying on Greens support: with two seats still in doubt, the 23 confirmed seats have gone Labor 10, Liberal eight and Greens five, compared with Labor 12, Liberal 11 and Greens two in 2016. Their respective best case scenarios are 12, nine and six.
One of the seats in doubt is in Brindabella, where the Liberals have clearly lost a seat in the only district where they won three in 2016, the question being whether it goes to Labor or the Greens. The other is in Ginninderra, where the Greens have clearly gained a seat, the question being whether it comes at the expense of Labor, who won three seats in 2016, or the Liberals, who won two. One of the two districts that went 2-2-1 in 2016, Murrumbidgee, has done so again this time; in the other, Kurrajong, the Greens have gained a second seat and reduced the Liberals to one. The Greens have won a seat from Labor in Yerrabi, where Labor won three and the Liberals two in 2016.
Breaking it down by district:
With Labor and the Liberals assured of two, the question of the final seat comes down to a seven vote gap between Labor’s number three, Tamius Werner-Gibbings, and Greens candidate Johnathan Davis, who are respectively at 4961 and 4954 at the decisive distribution. The defeated third Liberal incumbent, Andrew Wall, is on 5050 at this point of the count, and the complexion of Liberal preference flows between Labor and the Greens will determine the result if he falls back by 50 votes so and gets excluded before Werner-Gibbings and Davis.
The absence of the Sex Party, who polled 7.9% in 2016, left room for substantial gains for both Labor (up 7.5% to 41.1%) and the Greens (up 5.8% to 10.9%), while the Liberals fell 3.8% to 38.1%. Labor’s two incumbents, Joy Burch and Mick Gentleman, had no trouble getting re-elected, and there was again little to separate them, with both gaining around 3% off similar vote shares from 2016. Taimus Werner-Gibbings polled 6.7% without getting elected in 2016, and is now contention to do so after gaining 1.7%.
The order of the three elected Liberals in 2016 was Andrew Wall, Mark Parton and Nicole Lawder, but it was Wall who went under as his fell from 12.0% to 8.1%, while Parton and Lawder made slight gains. The Greens vote more doubled, from 5.1% to 10.9%, with Davis going from 1.5% at his unsuccessful run in 2016 to 5.6% this time.
Despite polling a solid 9.2%, the Belco Party did not end up being in contention. Whereas I speculated pre-election that they might give the Liberals a path to victory by poaching a seat from Labor they would not have been able to win themselves, their presence did not in fact do the Liberals any favours, and may actually cost them one of the two seats they went in with. At the point where lead Belco Party candidate Bill Stefaniak drops out of the count, more than half his vote exhausts, with 29.8% going to the Liberals, 12.2% to Labor and 4.6% to the Greens. That leaves two seats and three candidates, with Jo Clay of the Greens in the clear on 5791, and Labor’s Gordon Ramsay ahead for the last seat with 5282 votes to 5011 for Peter Cain of the Liberals. So Cain has a gap of 271, or around 0.6% of the total, to make up in late counting.
The Liberal vote in Ginninderra slumped 6.2% to 25.8%, although Labor were also down 0.8% to 40.6% as the Belco Party muscled into the field, and the Greens were up 3.2% to 12.9%. With three Labor incumbents seeking re-election, Yvette Berry and Tara Cheyne picked up strong swings to dominate the party’s vote, while Gordon Ramsay trod water and lagged behind, to mix a metaphor. The only Liberal incumbent, Elizabeth Kikkert, picked up 2.3% to emerge the clear winner for the only assured Liberal seat. The potential second winner, newcomer Peter Cain, polled 5.3%, and Jo Clay dominated among the Greens with 6.4%.
The Greens’ success in gaining a second seat at the expense of one of the two Liberal incumbents comes down to Rebecca Vassarotti of the Greens having 5021 votes at the relevant exclusion to 4384 for Candice Burch of the Liberals, which I presume is too big a gap to make up on late counting.
The traffic in the party vote shares was between Liberal and the Greens, with the former down 4.8% to 26.2% and the latter up 5.2% to 24.0%, while Labor held steady on 38.4%. The two re-elected Labor incumbents had little change on their 2016 vote shares, with Andrew Barr on 22.3% and Rachel Stephen-Smith on 5.6%.
Elizabeth Lee emerged the only clear Liberal winner with 9.3%, little changed on 2016; Burch’s likely defeat arises mroe from the overall drop in the Liberal vote rather than her own vote share, which was up 1.6% to 7.5%. Of the Greens, Shane Rattenbury’s 13.2% was little changed on 2016, with Rebecca Vassarotti gaining 3.1% on her unsuccessful 2016 performance to score 6.5%, well ahead of the party’s other two candidates.
Needing a win in an electorate where they had been favoured by the redistribution, the Liberals did no better than maintain the status quo with a particularly weak vote share of 34.6%, down 9.9% on their redistribution-adjusted total from 2016. Labor were up 3.8% to 36.8% and the Greens 1.4% to 12.1%, with most of the lost Liberal vote accounted for by independent Fiona Carrick’s 7.0%.
From the Labor ticket, Chris Steel sophomore surged by 5.0% to 14.1%, but the other newcomer from 2016, Bec Cody, looks set to lose to party colleague Marisa Paterson after dropping 1.7% to 7.0%, while Paterson was on 8.0%. Cody’s 370-vote deficit against Paterson on the primary vote grows to 717 with the distribution of preferences.
Of the Liberals, Jeremy Hanson got 14.3% after losing 8.1% from the vote share he managed as leader in 2016, while the other Liberal incumbent, Giulia Jones, dropped 0.7% to 6.5%, only slightly clear of Liberal newcomer Amardeep Singh on 6.2%. Her 113-vote lead over Singh on the primary vote expands to 528 as preferences are distributed. The new Greens member is Emma Davison, who dominated the party’s vote with 7.2%.
The outlier of the five districts, with the Liberals surging 4.4% to 40.2% while Labor sagged by 9.2% to 34.7%, for which the DLP’s 4.8% provides only half an explanation. However, it doesn’t appear to have done the Liberals any good, as they remain stuck on two seats, with the Greens instead gaining a seat from Labor after their vote rose 3.2% to 10.3%.
Part of the shift from Labor to Liberal reflects the mid-term retirement of Labor’s strongest incumbent from 2016, Meegan Fitzharris – Labor’s three incumbents, Michael Pettersson, Suzanne Orr and Deepak-Raj Gupta, made only slight gains despite her 15.2% being up for grabs, polling between 7.2% and 9.7%. The other notable candidate factor behind the result was Liberal member Alistair Coe’s rise to the leadership, though his 1.7% gain to 15.9% was quite modest. Liberal newcomer Leanne Castley gained a seat at the expense of party colleague James Milligan, polling 8.6% to Milligan’s 7.0%, the latter being 0.6% down on his vote from 2016. Andrew Braddock dominated the two-candidate Greens ticket with 6.5%.
9.21pm. The interim distribution in Brindabella shows a fascinatingly close race to avoid exclusion between Labor’s potential third winner, Taimus Werner-Gibbings, on 4650; the Greens front-runner, Johnathan Davis, on 4627; and the third Liberal, Andrew Wall, on 4738. If Werner-Gibbings drops out at that point, Davis will be elected instead. If Wall does, the second Liberal, Mark Parton, will get elected at that point rather than at the final count. That would mean the Liberal surplus getting distributed as preferences, with unforeseeable (by me at least) consequences for the gap between Werner-Gibbins and Davis.
8.14pm. So all told, we’ve likely got 3-2 in Brindabella; 3-1-1 in Ginninderra; 2-2-1 in Murrumbidgee and Yerrabi; and 2-1-2 in Kurrajong, meaning two apiece for Labor and the Greens and one for the Liberals. That means Labor holding firm on 12 seats overall, the Liberals down from 11 to eight, and the Greens up from two to five.
8.08pm. Yerrabi. The distribution is not giving the Liberals that third seat they looked like getting off the first solid numbers that came through, instead projecting a 2-2-1 result. I’m not seeing any choke points in the distribution that might change that, but it’s complicated and I could be missing something.
8.04pm. Murrumbidgee. No doubt here that the result is 2-2-1. If there’s any interest, it’s to do with whether the second Labor seat goes to Marisa Paterson or incumbent Bec Cody, who respectively have 5021 and 4350 at the last exclusion.
7.58pm. Kurrajong. The distribution is indeed giving the Greens their second seat here. Their second winner, Rebecca Vassarotti, has 4604 votes at the key point to 4027 for the excluded second Liberal, Candice Burch.
7.47pm. Ginninderra. The preliminary distribution says Labor three and one each for the Liberals and the Greens. That looks reasonably firm to me — the more precarious choke point I can see is where a second Liberal, Peter Cain, gets excluded with 4467 votes to 4989 for Labor’s third candidate, Gordon Ramsay — if he can close that gap, which doesn’t seem likely, it will be 2-2-1.
7.45pm. Brindabella. I’m going to go through the preliminary preference distributions one by one now. The projection is actually Labor three, Liberal two, and not 2-2-1 as I suggested earlier. The Greens candidate, Johnathan Davis, trails the third Labor, Taimus Werner-Gibbings, by a bare margin of 4666 to 4630 at the decisive point of the count.
7.41pm. Though on Antony Green’s analysis, the second Greens seat in Kurrajong may be back in play. Antony is looking at the preliminary preference distribution, which I haven’t examined yet.
7.37pm. A firming up of the count in Ginninderra puts the election further beyond the Liberals’ reach, because the Greens look set to gain the third seat lost by Labor. So if the Belco Party does win a seat there, it will be at the expense of the Liberals. Gordon Ramsay now looks like the Labor loser, with Jo Clay to win a seat for the Greens. Despite the fading excitement about a second seat in Kurrajong, it looks a good night for the Greens, who look set to go from two to four, winning everywhere except Yerrabi.
7.34pm. A solid advance in the Brindabella count, with 70.6% now counted, but no real change to what looks like a 2-2-1 result, with Liberal incumbent Andrew Wall looking set to lose his seat to Johnathan Davis of the Greens.
7.31pm. That third Liberal seat in Yerrabi looks less assured now. As Antony Green notes, part of Labor’s weak show is due to the Democratic Labour Party drawing the first column on the ticket.
7.24pm. A big advance in the Murrumbidgee count, with 62.0% now in, and I think it’s clear we’re looking at a status quo in a 2-2-1 in a seat where I thought the Liberals needed a gain, but Yerrabi has cancelled that out. They could get the seat they needed from Ginninderra, either directly or via Belco, but the apparent loss of a seat in Brindabella looks like the killer for them.
7.19pm. Antony Green points out that Alistair Coe is not doing that brilliantly in Yerrabi for a leader, and it’s incumbent James Milligan and newcomer Leanne Castley who are behind their surge.
7.15pm. Now a dramatic improvement in the Liberals’ position in Kurrajong, making a conventional 2-2-1 outcome looking more likely than the earlier threat that they might lose a seat to a second Green. So while some of the required stars are aligning for the Liberals, they aren’t winning the required second seat in Murrumbidgee, and still look likely to lose a seat in Brindabella. The latter now looks likely to go to the Greens, who have 0.71 quotas to Labor’s 2.24 and the Liberals’ 2.08.
7.14pm. A Labor loser in Ginninderra might be Gordon Ramsay, but more likely Tara Cheyne.
7.12pm. Now we’ve got serious numbers from Ginninderra, with 21.2% in. It does look like Labor will lose one of their three seats, but it might go to the Greens rather than Liberal or Bill Stefaniak.
7.10pm. A theory emerging on Twitter is that Labor smashed the northern suburbs in 2016 due to stage one of the light rail, and now they’re doing it in the south thanks to stage two, while the north reverts to type. More results from Ginninderra might put meat on the bones of that theory.
7.07pm. I guess the Liberals are benefiting from Alistair Coe’s vote in Yerrabi, but the extent of it is still surprising. Their hope might be that there is a northern suburbs effect going on that will be equally evident in Ginninderra, where the count remains slow.
7.01pm. Much, much better news for the Liberals from Yerrabi, where they are on 2.53 quotas to Labor’s 2.09 and the Greens’ 0.53, with 29.2% counted. Such regional variation is most unusual. On this basis it looks like Labor (either Suzanne Orr or Deepak-Raj Gupta) will lose a seat, but crucially this could go either to the Greens (who seem to be having a good night) or the Liberals. That would compensate for what looks like one of their failures elsewhere, but the problem is that they have two if not three.
7pm. Vicki Dunne on the ABC speculates that the Liberals might do better in later counting because older voters don’t favour electronic voting, which sounds plausible.
6.53pm. A big advance in the Kurrajong count, now 26.8%, and it’s gone from bad to worse for the Liberals — they’re being outpolled by the Greens. There looks a strong possibility of two Labor, two Greens and one Labor. I’m tempted to call this election now, but mindful that there may be local subtleties I’m not on top of.
6.49pm. Something to report now from Kurrajong, where 10.3% is in. It looks clear for two Labor, one Liberal and one Greens, with one of them to gain an extra seat on top of that. This means the Liberals can hope for status quo at best, and could potentially lose their second seat to either Labor or the Greens. So no rabbit out of the hat there.
6.46pm. To take a step back — the path to Liberal victory I rated most likely involved them winning a third seat in Murrumbidgee, which isn’t happening, and Bill Stefaniak winning in Ginninderra, which might. There certainly isn’t one if they lose a seat in Brindabella, which looks better than even. So they need to turn the tide in Brindabella and pull a rabbit out of the hat in Yerrabi or Kurrajong, where there are next to no numbers.
6.43pm. Bit of a slowdown in the count, with still only significant numbers in from Brindabella and Murrumbidgee. If Andrew Wall of the Liberals loses his Brindabella seat to Labor, the winner will clearly be Taimus Werner-Gibbins; if he loses to the Greens, it will be Johnathan Davis.
6.34pm. Independent Fiona Carrick is polling a strong 8.2% in Murrumbidgee, but probably not well enough — a 2-2-1 result looks baked in. Of the Labor candidates, Chris Steel is safe, but Bec Cody is in danger of losing to Marisa Paterson. Jeremy Hanson sure to be re-elected as a Liberal, but the other incumbent, Giulia Jones, is struggling to hold off either Ed Cocks or Amardeep Singh.
6.31pm. Big numbers now from Brindabella — 45.7% counted — and it looks like the fifth seat is a three-way race between Labor, Liberal and the Greens, which the Liberals desperately need to win.
6.28pm. Small numbers from Ginninderra, and the results look fairly encouraging for Bill Stefaniak, raising the possibility of him snaring a seat from Labor. That could put the Liberals back on track, but only if things snap back in their favour in Brindabella.
6.26pm. If the Liberals do drop a seat in Brindabella, the loser will be Andrew Wall, a social conservative.
6.24pm. Murrumbidgee looks status quo, i.e. Labor two, Liberal two, Greens one.
6.22pm. These Brindabella numbers don’t look good for the Liberals — with Labor on 2.47 quotas, Liberal on 2.33 and the Greens on 0.65, the most likely result would seem to be that the Liberals will drop a seat to the Greens, which would leave them without a path to victory.
6.18pm. Antony Green’s Brindabella numbers are off one small sample from a booth outside the electorate; a much bigger booth has since reported on the ACTEC.
6.15pm. There’s a two booths in from Brindabella — they don’t look good for the Liberals, but I’m unclear where they’re from exactly. The results haven’t filtered through to the ABC computer yet, which should provide booth-matched swings when they do. The ACT Electoral Commission computer does show swings, but they are not booth-matched.
6.07pm. The Electoral Commission’s results display looks rather neat, particularly the interactive map.
6pm. Polls have closed.
Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of today’s Australian Capital Territory election (note Adrian Beaumont’s live coverage of the New Zealand count in the post below). The local electoral commission has very helpfully laid out what we can expect and when here. Things may proceed very swiftly, as probably around two-thirds of the vote has been cast at pre-poll centres equipped with electronic voting, and these results can be expected “within 1-2 hours” of the close of polls at 6pm, which if anything I suspect is a bit conservative. Better yet, the electronic nature of the count allows for the immediate publication of preliminary distributions of preferences, which should make it very clear how preferences are flowing and what the final result should be unless it’s very close.
There have been no polls of any kind during the campaign period, and I can’t claim any knowledge of the mood on the ground since, despite having been born there, I have not visited the jurisdiction since the 2004 federal election (never let it be said that I’m part of the Canberra bubble). However, my reading of the situation is as follows.
The likeliest Liberal path to victory involves them retaining their three seats in Brindabella in Canberra’s south; snaring at third seat in Murrumbidgee in its west, which Ben Raue at the Tally Room has calculated they should be able to do with a status quo result, thanks to the redistribution; and have former Liberal leader Bill Stefaniak succeed in his bid for a seat with the Belco Party in the northern suburbs district of Ginninderra, and thereby set up the Liberals to form a minority government with his support. More suspicious folk than myself might wonder if Stefaniak and his crew are in on a Liberal scheme to cost Labor a decisive northern suburbs seat that they would be unable to manage off their own bat, but I have no way of knowing if that’s the deal or not. On the other hand, this could be an unheralded Liberal wave election that finds them winning third seats in either or both of Ginninderra and its northern suburbs neighbour, Yerrabi.
Then there’s the question of how many seats the Greens can win – of the two they hold that present, the only one that looks a sure thing is the one in Kurrajong in the central and eastern suburbs, held by party leader Shane Rattenbury. The other, in Murrumbidgee, is being vacated by sitting member Caroline Le Couteur, and could potentially be the seat there that falls to the Liberals. On the other hand, a surge in support could deliver them further seats in any or all of the the other three electorates. Time — and not all that much of it — will tell.2.forMChrcoulJ