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Saturday, May 28
As I should have noted yesterday, the AEC has published all-important three-candidate preferred counts for Brisbane and Macnamara, where the results hinge on who will finish second and third out of the Labor and the Greens. With “88% of the total expected ballot papers” accounted for in Brisbane, the Greens lead Labor by 29.55% to 28.56% (with the LNP on 41.89%), which is sufficient for the ABC to have called the result.
Macnamara on the other hand is exquisitely close three ways, with the Liberal candidate on 33.56%, Labor member Josh Burns on 33.50% and Greens candidate Steph Hodgins-May on 32.93%. This suggests 46.9% of minor candidate preferences are going to Liberal, 35.9% are going to the Greens and only 17.2% are going to Labor. For the Greens to win, two things need to happen after the remaining 6500 or so outstanding votes are counted: they need to close their 495 vote deficit against Labor, and the Liberals need to not fall to third.
The first of these seems entirely possible. If the outstanding batches behave like those already counted, they should make up around 200 out of 3300 pre-polls and 100 out of 1100 declaration pre-polls. If the 300 or so provisionals behave like they did in 2019, they should make up a further 40 or so. Then there’s the COVID votes, of which there are about 1000, and which are apparently also expected to favour the Greens. Postals are diminishing in number, but each batch continues to be better for the Greens than the last, to the extent that today’s was the first on which they gained on Labor.
As for the Liberals, the 3CP count has them 545 ahead of the Greens and 50 ahead of Labor. There seems no particular reason to think they will either gain or lose in large degree relative to Labor out of any of the remaining vote types, so everything that was just said about the Greens relative to Labor applies to the Greens relative to Liberal as well. The question is whether the chips just happen to fall in such a way that Labor gains 50 votes or so at their expense. I am flying blind here with respect to the COVID votes, and also with how many postals can be expected – postals can arrive until Friday, and I can’t really tell you how many tend to trickle in in the second week.
All of this amounts to bad news for Labor in its quest for 76 seats, with Brisbane now out of the picture and the odds most likely leaning against them in Macnamara, which I for one thought they had in the bag earlier in the week, and which my results system is continuing to call as Labor retain due to its inability to think in three-party terms. The likely retention of Lyons only gets them to 75: they now need a late break in their favour in Gilmore or, less likely, Deakin. A great deal hinges on the absents, declaration pre-polls and COVID votes in these seats, on which we remain none the wiser, with no progress in either count today.
Friday, May 27
My results system is now registering Ryan as a Greens gain from the LNP, as the fresh two-candidate count finally advances enough to tip the probability dial over 99%. Similarly, Wannon has been restored to the Liberals after further booths were added in the Liberal-versus-independent count that was begun yesterday, and Nicholls is now being called for the Nationals as Rob Priestly’s independent bid falls short.
Labor aren’t dead yet in Deakin, where rechecking today gained them 138 on postals and 37 on ordinary votes, while costing the Liberals 169 and 30. However, there was little in it in today’s batches of absents, which broke 236-232 to Labor, and declaration pre-polls, which broke 463-462 to Liberal. Labor will perhaps need about 55% of what’s outstanding to reel in a Liberal lead that today shrank from 1032 to 655.
The contention related yesterday by Antony Green that late counting would favour the Greens in Macnamara was borne out in that the latest batch of 1951 postals were much stronger for them than earlier batches and they also performed well on the first 965 declaration pre-polls, particularly relative to Labor. Their situation will apparently continue to improve from here, but the secret of the final result remains hidden in the preference flows, on which I can offer no hard information.
It seems rechecking of ordinary and postal votes turned up 157 extra ordinary votes for the Liberals in Lyons, but little else. The first absents from the seat broke 696-621 to Labor. That leaves Labor’s lead at 678, down from 784 yesterday. For the second day in a row, the only progress in Gilmore was rechecking, which cost the Liberals 41 votes and Labor five. Counting will continue over the weekend.
Thursday, May 26
The ABC is calling Lyons for Labor after the correction of errors gave Labor a 582-vote fillip on ordinary votes. My system isn’t quite there yet though, in part because each batch of postals so far has been better for the Liberals than the last, the latest breaking 1508 (56.1%) to 1178 (43.9%). However, it may also be because the ABC has formed a more considered view than I have as to how many outstanding votes remain.
I have been assuming for some time that Labor will win Macnamara, which together with Lyons would put Labor over the line to 76 seats and a majority. However, Antony Green has dropped by in comments with an account of his own decision to hold off on such a call, informed by Labor member Josh Burns’ own lack of confidence. Specifically, both Labor and the Greens believe the Greens will enjoy a surge when absents and “an estimated 1000 COVID votes” are added to the count. On top of anything else, this is the first intelligence I have received as to how many COVID votes might be expected, here or anywhere else.
The very first absent and declaration pre-polls were added to the count today, mostly in Deakin, which respectively got 455 and 449 (there were also 787 absent votes added in Lingiari). The absents in Deakin broke 251-204 to Labor, but the pre-polls went 249-200 against. However, there was a turn in Labor’s favour on postals, which broke only 1493 (51.1%) to 1427 (48.9%) in the Liberals’ favour, compared with 58.8% to 41.2% on the previous batches. With the Liberal lead at 1032, Labor will need everything to go right on the remaining postals (perhaps about 3000), outstanding absents and declaration pre-polls (seemingly around 3500 apiece), COVID votes (around 1000, I guess) and provisional votes (a couple of hundred).
I’m not sure of the details, but rechecking of ordinary votes in Gilmore today was to the advantage of Andrew Constance, who gained 25 while Labor lost 149. No new postal votes were added to the count. Another 4095 postals in Brisbane didn’t fundamentally change the situation described here yesterday, with Labor continuing to hold a 0.7% lead over the Greens on the primary vote that I don’t think will be quite enough for them when preferences are distributed. Liberal member Celia Hammond conceded defeat to independent Kate Chaney in Curtin, perhaps because the latest batch of postals sharplhy reversed earlier form in breaking 1955 (52.3%) to 1780 (47.7%) to Chaney.
My system has withdrawn Wannon as a confirmed Liberal retain, not because such a result has become objectively less likely, but because the AEC has concluded Labor will run third and begun a fresh two-candidate count between Liberal member Daniel Tehan and independent Alex Dyson. This has so far accounted for only about 10% of the vote, and is presently giving Tehan a fairly modest lead of 52.2-47.8. Based on the relationship at polling booth level between the Liberal primary vote and the share of preferences, I am expecting this to inflate quite substantially and do not believe Tehan is in trouble.
Wednesday, May 25
My results system today called Dickson for the Coalition, bringing them to 51 seats, to which I think it more than likely that Casey, Menzies, Cowper, Nicholls and Moore will shortly be added. Labor remains on 74, and I don’t think there is any real doubt they will further gain Bennelong. Batches of postal votes are being added to the count in diminish number, but we still haven’t seen any absents or declaration pre-polls, which we can at least make broad guesses about based on past performance, or the COVID-19 electronic assisted voting results, which are anyone’s guess.
Here’s the latest from the seats that may add further to the Labor count, any one of which will get them to a majority:
Brisbane. The result remains at the mercy of unavailable information on how minor candidate preferences are flowing between the Greens, Labor and the LNP. A source familiar with the matter has passed on an informal tally based on observation of pre-poll and postal vote counting that suggests around 50% of preferences are flowing to the LNP, 32% to the Greens and 17% to Labor. If this is accurate, Labor will need a primary vote lead of about 1% when all the votes are in to remain ahead of the Greens during the preference distribution. Currently the gap is 0.7%, having increased today from 34 votes to 528 following a batch of postal votes that was actually weaker for Labor than the previous. However, that’s likely to be sent down rather than up by absent votes, on which Greens do well. So it would appear the Greens remain favourites.
Gilmore. Labor had a better batch of postals today, which only favoured the Liberals by 754 (51.3%) to 715 (48.7%) compared with 5895 (54.5%) to 4913 (45.5%) from the previous batches. With further unfavourable adjustments from ordinary vote rechecking, that increased Andrew Constance’s lead only from 104 to 112, with postals now set to slow to a trickle. This isn’t quite the lead Andrew Constance would have wanted ahead of what’s likely to be a Labor gain when absents are added.
Lyons. There seems to be an improving trend here for the Liberals on postals, the latest batch of which broke 1103 (55.6%) to 882 (44.4%) their way compared with 2966 (50.9%) to 2857 (49.1%) against them previously. If the remaining postals break the same as this latest batch, there’s going to be next to nothing in it.
Curtin. Liberal member Celia Hammond has brought Kate Chaney’s lead on the raw count inside 1%, but today’s postals were actually a bit weaker for her than previous batches, favouring her by 1075 (55.3%) to 868 (44.7%) compared with 6729 (59.4%) to 4605 (40.6%) previously. They were also notable fewer than number, and have still left her 1640 behind. As noted here yesterday, the 2019 result suggests absents are unlikely to favour her. The dynamic may be a little different this time given the redistribution has pushed the boundary substantially northwards, and many absent votes are cast just outside an electorate’s boundaries, though I can’t specifically think why this would make them a whole lot more favourable to the Liberals.