Daly by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Daly by-election in the Northern Territory.

7.51pm. Mobile Team Daly 3 is in, and Labor ends the night with an insurmountable lead of 1856 to 1424, a margin of 6.6% from a swing of 7.8%. CORRECTION: Mobile Team Daly 3 is not so much in, as removed from the NTEC’s list of booths. In any case, we’ve seen everything we’re going to see this evening.

7.31pm. 104 votes from pre-poll and election day centres in Darwin don’t change anything. Apart from declarations and postals, we’re still just waiting on Mobile Team Daly 3.

7.15pm. Now we’ve got Berry Springs EVC and all booths reporting so far in on the two-party, and all of a sudden it looks a great night for Labor. Jennings did better at Berry Springs EVC as expected, but it amounted to little — she’s still on only 15.1%. That reduces it to a traditional CLP-versus-Labor contest, on which Labor leads 56.4% to 43.6%. I’m only projecting that to narrow slightly, with Labor winning by 5.3% from a swing of 6.5%.

7.12pm. Another twist in the tale from two Mobile Team booths that have reported. They account between them for 1807 votes with one of three results still outstanding, whereas the two Mobile Team booths in 2020 totalled only 1651. So clearly these have had more use this time. The results are a body blow for Jennings, who now looks certain to finish third, and a giant fillip for Labor, who got fully 64.5% of the primary vote from the two between them. They have now bolted to a lead of 45.8% to 33.9% over the CLP. Still waiting on the two-party results from the two booths.

7.02pm. It’s pointed out in comments that Jennings’ home town is Berry Springs, where she got 39.1% compared with about 21% elsewhere. One of the outstanding booths is the Berry Springs pre-poll centre, but it should only account for about 20% of the outstanding total. That presumably shortens the odds for the CLP. If the 2020 results are any guide, the one we’re waiting for is Mobile Team Daly 1, which should account for nearly half the outstanding votes. This happened to be a strong booth in 2020 for the Territory Alliance, for which Jennings ran as a candidate in a different seat.

6.52pm. A much better result for the CLP from the Coolalinga early voting centre leaves them with 44.8% of the primary vote, and also narrows Jennings’ lead over Labor to just 12 votes. This is a particularly strong booth for the CLP: they got 56.9% last time and 52.9% this time. Since they remain down on the primary vote on a booth-matched basis, and their primary vote was only 35.8% last time, they remain in trouble if Jennings can stay ahead of Labor. Otherwise, it looks clear now the CLP will retain the seat, as they have a two-party swing of 5.9% against Labor.

6.50pm. The issue for Jennings is whether she stays ahead of Labor to take second place. She currently leads them by 156 votes to 128. The 22 votes of the other independent, Wayne Connop, would presumably widen that. But later reporting votes may be stronger for Labor. If Jennings does drop out, it seems likely the seat will stay with the CLP: they lead the two-party count 267 to 214. This amounts to a 1.4% swing to the CLP, from which a 3.2% winning margin can be projected. There are so many votes outstanding though that that could not be thought decisive. So at present, the only candidate who can be ruled out is Connop.

6.40pm. The CLP has pulled ahead on the primary vote with the other election day booth in the electorate, Wagait Beach, reporting. These are small numbers of votes though so presumably the pre-poll voting centres did very good business. As things currently stand, Jennings still looks well placed to win on Labor preferences.

6.35pm. The Berry Springs booth, one of only two operating on election day, has recorded a rather spectacular result for independent candidate Rebecca Jennings, who has 116 votes to the CLP’s 113 and Labor’s 50. The CLP is down 6.6% on the primary vote and Labor is down 10.4%. Unless this is a local peculiarity, it suggests Jennings will win comfortably on Labor preferences. Results from the NTEC here.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Northern Territory by-election for the seat of Daly, covering pastoral areas to the south of Darwin. The by-election is being held after Country Liberal Party member Ian Sloan, who won by a 1.2% margin at the election last year, retired due to ill health. The candidates are Kris Civitarese of the CLP, Dheran Young of Labor and two independents, Wayne Connop and Rebecca Jennings.

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.

47 comments on “Daly by-election live”

  1. Very hard to predict a result in this one, although the word is that turnout was good in early voting out at Wadeye, which would give Labor some hope of pulling off a surprise win.

  2. ABC-NT TV news is reporting lower turnout in the rural areas and much higher turnout in remote communities. If that’s the case, Labor is well placed

  3. Asha: yeah, those are huge for Labor – starting to look like a Labor gain now. Only 1.2% for Jennings in mobile #2 – 11 votes! Compare to 68 informal votes (out of 908).

  4. And sure enough, Labor now on 60% 2PP.

    With apparently 60% of the vote counted now, too. How likely is it that the remaining booths put the CLP back in the lead?

  5. It’s a Labor win. Maybe 500 votes left to count (under 3900 at the general election) so Labor cannot lose, barring a major counting error!

  6. It’s a disaster for Lia Finocchiaro and her leadership will be under a bit of pressure. However, there are no obvious replacements.

    All the others are first team MPs, yeah? Unless there happens to be some rising star among the newbies or they draft someone from outside the assembly, I reckon they’re stuck with Finocchiaro until the next election.

  7. Can’t be often that we see an opposition seat fall to the government in a by-election.

    Yeah, there aren’t many. Most of the time when oppositions lose seats by-elections, it’s to independents or minor parties (Cunningham 2002, Frome 2009 etc). Here’s what I could find on Wikipedia, going back to about WW2:

    NSW: Clarence, 1996. Before that, Earlwood 1978, Bathurst 1967, Lismore 1959, Ashfield 1952, Albury 1946, Lachlan 1943, Dubbo 1942. (Side note: NSW has a LOT of by-elections.)

    Qld: Stafford 1984, East Toowoomba 1946.

    Vic: Benalla 2000, Burwood 1999, Geelong 1948.

    WA: Helena 1994, Gascoyne 1951.

    This is the first one in the NT, and the first one anywhere that didn’t involve a first-term government since 1984.

  8. By my reckoning this is the first govenment win of an opposition seat in a state or territory by-election since Benalla (Vic) 2000. In that time there have been government wins in by-elections from crossbenchers, and crossbencher wins from oppositions, but those are hardly the same thing.

  9. There are wannabe leaders of the CLP after this election disaster: the Members for Nelson & Barkly. Lia made this a contest between her & Gunner but COVID & Labor’s ‘bush machine’ reduced her & her party to electoral impotence. A very poor CLP campaign and a candidate from Tennant Creek a thousand k’s from the Daly electorate certainly didn’t help.

  10. It would be reflective of the current position of the CLP if they were to swap out a leader in one of the safest seats in the NT… for someone on a margin of 5 votes, lol.

  11. I have a feeling Jennings may’ve been the proxy TA candidate, and that’s why she did well (albeit only really in Wagait and Berry Springs). I really wish the NTEC (and the AEC, WAEC and any other electoral commission involved in counting remote votes counted them BY COMMUNITY. This means we are actually able to figure out where “Remote Mobile Team 8” etc. etc. is actually wrong, and be able to better analyse the data.
    The argument that “Indigenous communities are too small” is absolute garbage, considering there’s a booth out in the Shire of Beverley, where I live (and voted), the Dale River Tennis Club, where 45 formal votes were recorded, mostly just the farmers in and around the village of West Dale, a very rural community. I actually think this might well be negative discrimination against majority Indigenous communities and other remote communities, especially towns like Wadeye and Naiuyu.

  12. I’d argue Benalla (whilst up there as a statistic) was a whole different ball game.

    Bracks had just won government with the support of indies.

    There had been a big swing against the incumbent (the Deputy Premier) at the election only months before.

    Benalla was seen as a vital win in order to cement the legitimacy of Bracks’ government, so a whole lot of kitchen sinks were thrown at it.

  13. This remarkable result was because of three factors:
    1 – a terrible preselection from the CLP. to choose a political staffer from Tennant Creek (10 hours drive away) was insane and made the seat unwinnable for them;
    2 – Lia Finocchiaro. Lia has been looking increasingly unhinged or off script over the last couple of months. The messaging for the by-election was done by someone on ADHD. No consistency, and unable to capitalise on heaps of ammunition from Labor. It seems everyone knows Lia needs to go, but no-one knows who to replace her;
    3 – a great on the ground Labor campaign. Territory Labor are a campaigning machine. This was a 3-week campaign, under the shadow of the local government elections, Labor backed themselves to run a campaign with no notice over the CLP . Lia Finocchiaro, who had notice and let the sitting member quit without having a candidate or any preparations in place, bizarrely called for an immediate election despite being completely unprepared.

  14. What makes this result even more unusual was that the last few instances of a government winning an opposition seat in a by-election were in the first half of the first term of a new government (and often benefiting from a honeymoon period, the two in the early months of the Bracks government being a notable example). Arguably the last one which doesn’t fall into that category is the Stafford 1984 one.

  15. Wow. Another voting disaster for conservative politics in Australia.
    Mr Morrison may probably dismiss this result as only being from NT and too few Federal seats to really matter. However, the optics are horrifying and every seat counts in an election that could go down to the wire.
    Given the state of the Opposition in Qld, WA,Vic and now NT, there seems to be more than a slight smell of decay for the Conservatives.
    Sure, it has been pointed out often that voters differentiate between State and Federal elections but a succession of national polls don’t reflect that position as it stands today.
    It’s not like the Coalition has a (nationally) trusted, respected or liked person as its PM.
    November has now been completely knocked out as a possible date.
    Mr Morrison is staring down the barrel of a gun right up to May and if he spins the chambers “Russian roulette ” style he may find most if not all the chambers loaded.

  16. It seems everyone knows Lia needs to go, but no-one knows who to replace her;

    The CLP are not attracting the talent needed to both win and govern.

  17. Hi Ryan, I am sure that is the problem.

    While I don’t think there are broader federal implications in this, there is one direct implication. The Coalition, as a result of redistributions, need to pick up new seats to keep government – not just keep every one. A look around the country shows this is very hard and there are two seats in the Territory, with one retiring long-term member. The smart ones in the Coalition backrooms will know to skip over the Territory in their search for possible pick ups. Labor will easily retain Solomon and Lingiari.

  18. “Gettysburg1863says:
    Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 1:03 pm
    Wow. Another voting disaster for conservative politics in Australia.”….

    Yep, I agree Getty, it’s yet another voting disaster for the Coalition…. But, of course, this is “just a by-election” in the “far flung” Northern Territory…. blah, blah…

    Meanwhile, ScuMo was hoping for a great act of electoral resistance in NSW, against the mounting “red”-tide, on the back of “gold-standard” Berejiklian…. But, the Binchicken is messing things up with Covid and NSW is looking shaky for the Coalition. ScuMo is betting on the vaccine, though. Pity that the people of NSW will be looking more at the figures on: infections, hospitalizations, deaths….. than how many people are vaccinated.

  19. Maybe the problem is that every other CLP MP has only just come into office, and thus they’re still getting used to it?

    If so, that’s a bad omen for the WA Libs’ chances in 2029. WA 2025 will be a fair bit like NT 2020 (almost all incoming Lib MPs being newbies), so NT 2024 will be interesting from a WA angle.

    On that historical list (Benalla etc): Stafford 1984 might not actually belong on there, as the Qld Libs were crossbenchers at the time (Joh’s Nats had majority govt). Scrub that, and the most recent non-first-term example goes back all the way to Lismore 1959! Most of those ancient results were in rural areas, probably with super-long term MPs who weren’t as closely tied to their party as they would be now. As for Geelong 1948, I gave myself a headache trying to figure out who was running Vic in the decade after WW2. “Turbulent” would be an understatement.

  20. https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/09/11/daly-by-election-live/#comment-3701703

    The Liberals were in government 1947-1950. At the time of the 1948 by-election (November) they were still in Coalition with the Country Party. The Chifley Government was almost certainly a negative force on the ALP vote in Geelong in 1948. Geelong was also much more separate from Melbourne than it is today (less commuting and a much more separate media market before television), making it more like a regional seat than today and, Fanny Brownbill, the MLA whose death triggered the by-election had been MLA for a decade and was the widow of the MLA for the 18 years preceding the previous by-election (William Brownbill).

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