Western Australian Legislative Council endgame

Running commentary on the resolution of the Western Australian Legislative Council results.

Update: 8/4

The preference distributions are available from the WAEC here. Of note:

Agricultural. The final seat in Agricultural ended with second Nationals candidate, Martin Aldridge, elected with 13,310 and Stuart Ostle of Shooters Fishers and Farmers defeated on 11,329.

East Metropolitan. Brian Walker of Legalise Cannabis prevailed because their candidate remained in the count at what the ABC calculator identifies as Count 19 by a margin of 12,403 to 11,712 over the Western Australia Party — a margin of 691, a fair bit more comfortable than the 212 projected by the ABC.

Mining and Pastoral. The decisive point in the count here was where, in the race for the last two seats, Wilson Tucker of the Daylight Savings Party had 6007 votes, Neil Thomson of the Liberals had 5304, Jacqui Boydell of the Nationals had 5211 and Matt Priest of Shooters Fishers and Farmers had 4473. Because it was Shooters that fell out at this point, their own preferences boosted Daylight Savings Party and Australian Christians and One Nation preferences flowed on to the Liberals over the Nationals. If the Nationals had dropped out, the last two seats would have gone to the Liberals and Shooters; if the Liberals had done so, they would have gone to the Nationals and the Shooters.

North Metropolitan. The second elected Liberal, Tjorn Sibma, had 52,748 votes at the final count, with defeated Greens member Alison Xamon finishing on 41,512.

South Metropolitan. This came down to which out of the elected Greens candidate, Brad Pettit, or the fifth Labor candidate, Samantha Helps, survived the second last exclusion, at which Pettit held out by 27,942 votes to 27,032, a margin of 910. With its assumption that all votes behaved as above-the-line, the ABC projection had him 60 votes behind.

South West. When Rick Mazza of Shooters Fishers and Farmers was excluded, Sophia Moermond of Legalise Cannabis, James Hayward of the Nationals and fourth Labor candidate John Mondy were the three remaining candidates in the race for the last two seats. The distribution of Mazza’s preferences pushed Moermond and Hayward just clear of the 29,300 vote quota with 30,724 and 29,307 votes respectively, with Mondy just missing out on 27,590.

Update: 6/4

The results for the three metropolitan regions have been finalised, and related on Twitter by Antony Green. Both the close races went against Labor, who were thus denied extraordinary fifth wins in East Metropolitan and South Metropolitan. This meant in the former case a second seat for Legalise Cannabis, and a result of four Labor (Alanna Clohesy, Samantha Rowe, Matthew Swinbourn and Lorna Harper), one Liberal (Donna Faragher) and one Legalise Cannabis (Brian Walker).

South Metropolitan has narrowly returned the Greens’ only member, leaving the party with fewer seats than Legalise Cannabis. The result there is Labor four (Sue Ellery, Kate Doust, Klara Andric and Stephen Pratt), one Liberal (Nick Goiran) and one Greens (Brad Pettit). North Metropolitan played out as anticipated, with four for Labor (Pierre Yang, Martin Pritchard, Ayor Makur Chuot and Daniel Caddy) and two for Liberal (Peter Collier and Tjorn Sibma).

Final result: Labor 22, Liberal seven, Nationals three, Legalise Cannabis two, Greens one, Daylight Saving Party one. The WAEC will hopefully publish preference distributions for all six regions shortly.

Original post

Buttons are being pressed on the three non-metropolitan regions for the Western Australian Legislative Council this afternoon, with the metropolitan regions having to hold out until Tuesday. If I’m reading the WAEC website correctly, none of the preference distributions will be published until all of them are, which means next week. Hopefully though they will be informally doing the rounds sooner than that.

Note that you can view my Legislative Council election results display here, which features party vote totals broken down by lower house electorate, together with my Legislative Assembly results here. These are up to date with the WAEC website and media feed, but presumably aren’t final based on what Antony Green is saying about the Daylight Saving Party’s winning vote tally.

To be updated as more information becomes available:

South West

Antony Green tweets that South West has gone three for Labor (Sally Talbot, Alannah MacTiernan and Jackie Jarvis) and one each for Liberal (Steve Thomas), Nationals (James Hayward) and Legalise Cannabis (Sophia Moermond). There was some doubt as to whether Legalise Cannabis would jump through the required hoops and win a seat off 2.11% of the vote, as per the ABC projection, but it’s happened, with knock-on effects that gave the last seat to the Nationals rather than a second Liberal.

Mining and Pastoral

As expected, this has produced the group voting ticket system’s most perverse result yet, with four for Labor (Stephen Dawson, Kyle McGinn, Peter Foster and Rosetta Sahanna), one for Liberal (Neil Thomson) and one for the Daylight Saving Party (Wilson Tucker), the latter elected off a base of 98 votes, or 0.2% of the total.


The pressing of the button was in this case a formality, confirming a clear result of three Labor (Darren West, Shelley Payne and Sandra Carr), two Nationals (Colin de Grussa and Martin Aldridge) and one Liberal (Steve Martin).

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.

57 comments on “Western Australian Legislative Council endgame”

Comments Page 2 of 2
1 2
  1. Oh, and on the Nationals primary vote versus seats held, its important to remember that their primary is partly so low in comparison because they generally only compete in seats they have a reasonable chance of winning. Federally, there are entire states the Nats have no presence in, nor are votes for the Queensland LNP or the Northern Territory CLP included in their total. By contrast, the Greens run in every seat, and that 3-10% that they poll in most of them adds up.

    The Nationals are essentially just an extension of the Liberals these days, with sitting Nat MPs usually the only Coalition candidate in their seats, and their primary vote is really only relevant when combined with the Liberal / LNP / CLP primaries.

    The situation is a bit different in WA, of course, but I can’t imagine there were too many Nats running in Perth-based seats last month.

  2. I would be in favour of an upper house elected on a state-wide basis, with Senate style voting (ie, incorporating the anti-Druery preferencing rules). A 29 member chamber would have a quota per seat of 3.333%. In “normal” circumstances (not the 2021 landslide), the representation mix of the elected chamber would usually mean the Government of the day needs to negotiate with other parties to ensure the passage of legislation. Based on the 2021 voting numbers, at a rough guess this would have led to a 29 member Legislative Council with something like 18 Labor members, 5 Liberals, 2 Greens, 1 National, and maybe 1 each from Legalise Cannabis, the Christians and either One Nation or the Shooters. An Upper House elected on this basis would more closely reflect state-wide voting patterns than Lower House results, by ensuring representation of some of the smaller parties, and is sufficiently different to allow the Upper House to perform its “house of review” functions.

  3. https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/04/01/western-australian-legislative-council-endgame/comment-page-1/#comment-3586068

    Senate malapportionment is one of the most baked in parts of the constitution, as diminishing the proportionate representation of a state in either house requires a majority voters of that state voting in favour of the change. The strongly Senate-supporting majority of Tasmanian voters are extremely unlikely to back such a referendum, with SA and WA voters also unlikely to back it (as their seats would also be cut), such a change would be dead in the water.

    The only way to reduce the over-representation of smaller states in the Senate is to divide larger states into smaller states, however this is limited by the domination of most states by the state capital (unless multi-state cities, which are impractical with state control of urban transport, are adopted) and the desirability of a relative political balance of national vote between states (to avoid a USA like situation where the disproportionate number of heavily Republican smaller rural states distorts the Senate in favour of conservative rural voters).

  4. Extraordinary result for the ALP, but it does reflect their vote.

    The 3 Druery MLCs were elected off tiny primary votes. In a different way, extraordinary.

    The Greens may need to co-operate with the Druery parties to manage crossbench oversight on committees.

  5. The folk elected for the 3 micro’s seem to be centre-left. So the LibNats don’t even have some fringe party friends that can run with hate politics on their behalf.

  6. I think you will find that it is actually 1 Druery MLC. The Legalise Cannabis party refused to work with him and did their own deals.

Comments Page 2 of 2
1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *