Western Australian election live

Live coverage of the count for the Western Australian state election.

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End of Saturday night

The two-party projection on the entry page to my live election results facility currently credits Labor with a 13.7% swing, which if uniform would have left the Liberals only with Cottesloe and Vasse, both on margins of less than 1%. Those are indeed the only two seats the Liberals have clearly won – that they’re ahead by a fair bit more than 1% there reflects a general tendency for the swing to be a little milder in their own seats, which may yet save them in Churchlands, Carine and Nedlands. It should be noted that a very great proportion of the vote remains uncounted, with last night’s proceedings only scratching the surface of the unprecedented postal and pre-poll count. A dynamic may yet emerge which favours the Liberals in the in-doubt seats, but there hasn’t been any evidence of it in the pre-polls and postals that have thus far been counted, which have actually been even worse for the Liberals than the election day votes.

Whether the Nationals will emerge with more seats than the Liberals remains to be established. They look to have lost North West Central to Labor, who get belated revenge for Vince Catania’s defection to the party way back when, although the Nationals wouldn’t be conceding yet. A loss here would bring to an end the regional empire the party built under Brendon Grylls. The South West region seat of Warren-Blackwood has swung 11.7% to Labor and has not definitely been retained, which could potentially reduce them to three.

Nonetheless, the Nationals’ performance in their traditional Wheatbelt heartland was the only bright spot for conservative politics last night. Happily for the Nationals, the four electorates here are accommodated by the boutique Agricultural upper house region, which has three-and-a-half times as much voting power as the metropolitan area, and in which they have retained their two seats. The party’s primary vote was up in all four of these seats (and was down only slightly in Warren-Blackwood), but a slump in support for the Liberals and One Nation powered two-party swings to Labor of roughly 10%. This gained them Geraldton, where former Liberal member Ian Blayney had defected to the Nationals since the last election.

Now to the upper house, where I don’t see Labor winning less than 21 seats out of 36, and could get another three besides; the Liberals will get five to seven; the Nationals four or five; the Greens one to three; Legalise Cannabis one to two; and Shooters should have one.

Agricultural. Looks like being Labor three, Nationals two and Liberal one.

East Metropolitan. The ABC computer has this as four Labor, one Liberal and one Legalise Cannabis, but with Labor on 64.7%, there could be a scarcely believable result of five Labor, one Liberal if the micro-party vote fades in late counting.

Mining and Pastoral. The ABC says four Labor, one Nationals and one Shooters, but depending on where the uncounted votes are from, the Liberals may take the Nationals seat. The Daylight Saving Party could potentially take the Shooters seat, though I would expect late counting will reduce the micro-party preference snowball.

North Metropolitan. Labor clearly has three and Liberal one, with the last two seats a game of musical chairs between Labor, Liberal and the Greens, with the Greens seemingly behind the eightball. However, there’s another scenario in which Australian Christians take the seat that might go to the second Liberal.

South Metropolitan. The ABC says four Labor, one Liberal and one Green, but the Greens have only a slight lead over the micro-party preference snowball which leaves an outside chance of another fluke another win for Aaron Stonehouse of the Liberal Democrats.

South West. Three Labor and one each for Liberal, Nationals and Legalise Cannabis, according to the ABC, but a bit of playing with the calculator suggests the situation to be a bit fluid: the Legalise Cannabis seat could go to the Greens or a fourth Labor, and I’ve managed to concoct a scenario where the Nationals vote goes to Australian Christians.

Election night commentary

11.17pm. My results updating was offline for half an hour while my laptop was in transit, and is now back on to greet the late night addition of pre-polls and postals. My intimation that these might save some furniture for the Liberals is not being borne out: the collective two-party swings so far on pre-polls (15.3%) and postals (20.7%) is worse for them than the election day vote (a mere 13.2%).

9.48pm. So to summarise, it’s very hard to see how Labor doesn’t win a majority. Kevin Bonham notes the raw figures these calculations are coming off look too low for the Greens, so they could make it to three, although the worst case scenario is zero. A micro-party or two could get up, but that’s up in the air. For the second time, One Nation have come up empty-handed a term after winning three seats.

9.41pm. South West is three Labor and one apiece for Liberal, Legalise Cannabis and Nationals. The Nationals seat could conceivably go to Australian Christians or a fourth Labor, though I assume they will firm up in late counting.

9.40pm. South Metropolitan currently four Labor, one Liberal and one Greens, but the Greens only have their nose in front against the micro-party snowball at the close. I assume though that the latter will come back a bit in late counting.

9.36pm. North Metropolitan currently Labor four and Liberal two, but the last two seats are a very tight race between the fourth Labor, the second Liberal and the Greens, and could land with any combination thereof.

9.32pm. Back to the upper house. The ABC’s Mining and Pastoral progressive projection is Labor four, Liberal one and Shooters one, but the Liberal seat could potentially go to the Nationals, and it’s a squeaker between Shooters and the Daylight Saving Party for the last seat.

9.31pm. My system is now calling North West Central for Labor, as the ABC and Nine already were, a result that makes it slightly less likely the Nationals will emerge with opposition status.

9.30pm. In East Metropolitan, the ABC currently says four Labor, one Liberal and one Legalise Cannabis. But Legalise Cannabis has only a slight lead over the Greens at a key point, and if it closes there could be an opening for the Greens.

9.25pm. I’m going to go through the upper house region by region with highly impressionistic views of the situation based on how early returns are playing out through the ABC’s preference calculators. Starting with Agricultural, which looks like it should go three Labor, two Nationals and one Labor, which would be the first time Labor has ever won three seats here. However, there could be an opening for a micro-party at the third Labor’s expense if they fall back substantially.

9.20pm. The ABC and Nine are both calling North West Central for Labor, but I’m not quite there yet. That would mean four seats for the Nationals. The best case scenario for the Liberals is five, in descending order of likelihood: Churchlands, Vasse, Nedlands, Churchlands and Carine. The ABC is calling the latter two for Labor, but neither I or nine are.

9.05pm. Kevin Bonham tweets on the upper house: “Seems to me a very good chance of a Labor majority upstairs. 20 seats looks realistic.”

8.55pm. An update of booth-matched primary vote swings by upper house region. I’m hoping someone with more mental energy than I have at the moment might analyse their implications for the Legislative Council result which I can then pass off as my own work.

8.41pm. The Nationals have four seats in the bag, are in danger of losing North West Central, and clearly haven’t held Geraldton. Do the Liberals clear that hurdle? Only Cottesloe and Vasse look in the bag. Churchlands is very tight; they may yet get home in Nedlands; Carine isn’t looking good for them.

8.32pm. My statewide two-party preferred for projection isn’t improving for the Liberals, and shouldn’t move much until pre-polls start coming in. Then we will see if, as I keep suggesting it might (though this is far from certain), the situation improves a bit for the Liberals.

8.30pm. Now there are two-party numbers in from Nedlands, my system is no longer calling to for Labor. This is because independent Fiona Argyle is on 13.1% and was apparently directing preferences to the Liberals — for the want of better information to go on, it was assuming they would split evenly. I’ve still got Labor ahead, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a more positive dynamic for the Liberals on pre-polls pulls it out of the fire for them.

8.29pm. My results weren’t updating for a period, but we’re back in business now.

8.06pm. The Greens are running ahead of the Liberals in Fremantle, Kimberley, Kwinana, Maylands and Perth, after having done so nowhere in 2017. Obviously that’s more a reflection the Liberals’ performance than Labor’s — I’m calculating a 1.2% swing against the Greens on the primary vote.

7.59pm. All the interest now is what the Liberals can hold on to, which is no more than Cottesloe, Vasse, Churchlands and Carine, though I wouldn’t rule out a late miracle in Nedlands.

7.50pm. The image below shows lower house primary vote swings by upper house region, which may be of use to those of you trying to work out how the Legislative Council will look.

7.43pm. Dawesville being called now for Labor by the ABC and Nine (my system is less conservative it seems).

7.35pm. I’ve lost count of what of my system’s calls I have and haven’t related, so I’ll run through the projected Liberal defeats: Dawesville, Geraldton, Hillarys, Kalgoorlie, Nedlands, Riverton, Scarborough and South Perth. The only seat I’m calling for the Liberals is Cottesloe: they are merely ahead in Vasse and Churchlands.

7.34pm. So my election results facility is running very smoothly I’m pleased to say. If you’re finding it useful, note that I’ve tactfully but donations buttons on the top right of each page.

7.32pm. Nationals leader Mia Davies just asked on Nine if she is about to become Opposition Leader, a not unreasonable question. As noted two entries below though, a degree of caution is still required as to quite how bad this will be for the Liberals when all the votes are in.

7.31pm. There are now TCP figures from four seats, and my statewide Labor two-party projection has gone up rather than down.

7.29pm. My system is now calling Nedlands for Labor. I will add one note of caution though: we could be seeing a dynamic where Liberal voters were more inclined to go from election day to pre-poll and posting voting this time. Something similar happened at the last Victorian elections, and there were a few calls in Nedlands-like seats that ended up being reversed when pre-polls came in in the small hours.

7.26pm. There’s finally TCP figures for two booths in Balcatta, so a statewide two-party projection is now showing on my results page. It has Labor on 71.2% — but like I said, two booths from Balcatta.

7.22pm. There still aren’t any TCP results from the WAEC, but my primary vote projections suggest a swing of about 12%, which is in line with the YouGov poll. Their Dawesville poll isn’t looking bad either.

7.21pm. Calling Dawesville for Labor.

7.12pm. I’m now calling Hillarys and Scarborough called for Labor.

7.08pm. My system is calling Riverton for Labor, estimated a two-party swing of around 10% based off the primary vote numbers.

7.06pm. Apparently the WAEC likes to hold back on publishing two-candidate preferred data for some reason.

7.02pm. On top of anything else, movement from Liberal to Nationals in country seats.

6.58pm. I have the Liberals retaining Cottesloe after one booth with around 1000 votes recorded only modest swings on the primary vote.

6.55pm. First result in from Dawesville with 342 primary votes, and I’m calculating a 7.3% swing to Labor against Zak Kirkup’s 0.5% margin, which happens to be the smallest swing I’ve yet seen.

6.52pm. Two booths in Kalgoorlie both have Labor up around 30%, causing my system to call it for them. I note that there is yet to be a two-party result anywhere — hopefully this isn’t some issue with the media feed.

6.50pm. A bunch of booths on the primary vote make it clear Labor will win Geraldton with a swing of around 15%, so the regions appear on board with the swing.

6.43pm. Pilbara (a 38% primary vote swing in the Roebourne booth) and Swan Hills (23% at Wooroloo Primary School) added to the Labor retain booth.

6.40pm. Still early days of course, but every indication I’m seeing points to the anticipated Labor avalanche. With two booths in from Baldivis the Labor primary vote is up 38% — an independent polled 21% here in 2017.

6.38pm. With around 2000 votes in from Central Wheatbelt, I’m projecting a swing to Labor of around 10%, which still leaves Nationals leader Mia Davies very safe.

6.37pm. Each of those calls is based on small booths showing primary vote swing to Labor of between 15% and 28%.

6.33pm. My system is calling Rockingham, Burns Beach and Butler for Labor already.

6.31pm. We’re getting a flood of Special Institutions, Hospitals & Remotes results – there are a handful of these for each electorates and they’re evidently being counted straight up, and not a few days later as I’m normally used to. As well as being small in number, I don’t have historic data for them to calculate swings.

6.26pm. The blockage in my results facility has now been removed. Those party swing figures on the entry page are screwy but everything else looks okay.

6.17pm. There are 77 primary votes in from Central Wheatbelt (Westonia Shire Office). About a 15% swing to Labor, for what little that is worth.

6.15pm. I think my results facility is working — the WAEC’s time stamps are screwy which makes it hard to say until results the first results are in, which should probably be in about 15 minutes.

6pm. Polls have closed. Commentary and, hopefully, live publication of results to follow.

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.

345 comments on “Western Australian election live”

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  1. Oh, polls have closed already? I could have sworn it was a three hour difference between the east and west coasts.

    EDIT: Ah, right , idiot me forgot about you southerners with your daylight savings.

  2. I wonder why Morrison didn’t assist in the WA campaign? Oh, that’s right, he’s too busy overseeing the C.19 vaccine rollout, which is going swimmingly well.

  3. Nats apparently safe in central wheatbelt!
    (Why dies anyone live – speaking as someone who worked there for some months)

  4. Socrates:

    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    [‘Antony called it at 9:12PM ACST! Labor +11% statewide!]

    What caused the delay(?).

  5. It is amazing how the ALP have dominated in the last 30 years in WA, SA, Qld and Victoria and yet can’t get across the line federally. Just bizarre.

  6. Nahan commendably honest. This is bad result for Liberal Party.
    The State branch is a nest of vipers.
    And giving credit to McGowan for smart politics.

  7. Sorry but isn’t 0.1-0.3% counted a bit premature for a system to be calling seats? Not that I expect the results to actually be wrong, but isn’t there a minimum threshold at all?

  8. So Labor holds almost every seat in WA at the state level but will probably still hold only a third of WA seats at the federal level after the next election. WA voters are clearly effective at differentiating state and federal politics, if nothing else.

  9. Nahan says the Liberals’ open the border rhetoric last year hurt them. I remember being howled down here for saying the same thing at the time.

  10. Kirky @ #28 Saturday, March 13th, 2021 – 9:47 pm

    It is amazing how the ALP have dominated in the last 30 years in WA, SA, Qld and Victoria and yet can’t get across the line federally. Just bizarre.

    A lot of people believe Labor does State things well, Health and Education and the Coalition does the National Economy and Defence well (not that they do really 😀 )

  11. Congrats on the huge win Labor. Looks like the predictions of the wipe-out are playing out. The Libs are getting absolutely annihilated.

  12. Some massive swings to the ALP. Over 12% to the ALP in Perth – overall holding 70% of the metro vote. Just unbelievable!

    This is a big “up yours” to the Feds on Mark’s policy of closing domestic borders.

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