Victorian election: late counting week two

Continuing coverage of late counting from the Victorian state election.

Click here for full Victorian election results updated live.

Friday, December 8

The last in doubt seat was determined in Labor’s favour today, with the preference distribution in Bass showing Labor incumbent Jordan Crugnale the winner with 20,803 votes (50.24%) over 20,601 (49.76%) for Liberal candidate Alan Brown. Labor thus emerges with 56 lower house seats, up one from their total in 2018; the Liberals on 19, down two, and the Nationals on nine, up three, with one or the other presumably to win Narracan when the supplementary election is held; the Greens four, up one; and independents from three to zero.

In the upper house count, the ABC’s projected margin for Transport Matters incumbent Rod Barton over Aiv Puglielli of the Greens at the final count for North-Eastern Metropolitan has narrowed to 16.95% to 16.38%, at which point the Greens could be confident that below-the-line votes would win them the seat. Barton is also a hair’s breadth away from exclusion behind Sustainable Australia at an earlier point in the count.

Thursday, December 8

Labor chalked up another win today when the button was pressed on Pakenham, revealing that their candidate Emma Vulin prevailed over David Farrelly of the Liberals at the last by 19,587 (50.39%) to 19,280 (49.61%). That gets Labor to 55 seats, which most likely will get to 56 when the button is pressed tomorrow on Bass, barring the emergence of some as yet undetected anomaly that up-ends the 211 vote margin on the two-candidate preferred count.

Wednesday, December 7

The preference distribution for Pakenham, earlier promised for today, will now be finalised tomorrow according to the VEC. That remains the only seat in doubt now that Northcote is decided for Labor, although I note that the ABC still rates Bass, where Labor leads by 211, as in doubt. There too the VEC is promising a preference distribution tomorrow. The preference distribution in Preston established that independent Gaetano Greco did not in fact make the final count, at which Labor retained the seat ahead of the Greens by a margin of 2.1%.

Tuesday, December 6

A preference distribution has been run for Northcote, which I believe was conducted electronically, with Labor incumbent Kat Theophanous making it over the line at the final count with 21,413 votes (50.22%) to Greens candidate Campbell Gome’s 21,229 (49.78%). The VEC site says “a recheck is taking place for this district”, but the ABC reports the figures as final.

In the other yet-to-be-called seat, Pakenham, Antony Green relates that the re-check of first preferences has shown up anomalies that will put Labor ahead when corrected, with the published results remaining those of the initial count. This involved an increase in the number of votes designated informal, which cut 274 from the Liberal primary vote tally compared with 111 from Labor’s. The difference is sufficient to cancel out the Liberals’ 90 vote lead on the two-candidate preferred count, though not so handily that you would rule out further anomalies tipping the result back the other way. The matter will seemingly be clarified when a full preference distribution is conducted tomorrow. Should the result go Labor’s way, they will have repeated their feat from 2018 of winning 55 seats, despite a statewide two-party swing that looks to be in excess of 3%.

Monday, December 5

My previous update dropped the ball with respect to Northcote, where a 1523-994 break on absent votes brought the Greens right back into contention. Labor now leads by 189 with the outstanding vote likely to consist of around 1500 postals, of which the latest batch broke an even 123-123, and a handful of provisionals.

The Liberals have opened a 90 vote lead in Pakenham, after the latest early votes broke 450-356 and postals broke 80-67, outweighing a 208-189 break to Labor on absents. There are still about 1500 postals to be accounted for, and since these have broken 51-49 in favour of the Liberals so far, this seems assured to remain close.

Mornington continues to edge out of reach of independent candidate Kate Lardner, with absents (349-338), early votes (268-203) and postals (110-102) all breaking slightly the way of Liberal candidate Chris Crewther, whose lead is out from 491 votes to 575. My results system is now calling it for Crewther, leaving only Northcote and Pakenham in doubt.

In the upper house count, second Liberal candidate Joe McCracken’s position in Western Victoria has strengthened appreciably, leaving him a likely winner over Stuart Grimley of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. The Greens and Legalise Cannabis remain in a race for a third left-wing seat, with Labor and now Liberal on course for two seats each.

Sunday, December 4

There are probably three lower house seats that are still in real doubt, not counting Narracan which will presumably be won by the Liberals or Nationals. This gets Labor to 54 seats with a best case scenario of 56; the Coalition to 26 with a best case scenario of 29; the Greens to four; and one outside possibility for an independent.

The most remarkable of the close races is Pakenham which was tied as of Friday, before Liberal candidate David Farrelly opened up a three-vote lead after a batch of absents were added over the weekend. Farrelly held a 220 vote lead mid-week before postals broke 964-781 to Labor and early votes did so by 457-420.

Labor holds a 285 lead in Bass, out from 53 after favourable results on early vote (1768-1643), absents (539-438) and recent batches of postals (826-820). Postals, of which the first batch broke strongly to the Liberals but more recent arrivals have been neutral, should account for most of the remainder, although there may also be significant numbers of outstanding absents.

Liberal candidate Chris Crewther’s lead over independent Kate Lardner in Mornington is now at 491 votes, out from 353, after postals favoured him 751-717 and early votes did so 413-329. The former were less strong for Crewther than earlier postals, of which at least 3000 yet to come. Together with the fact that further absents are likely outstanding, this means Crewther can’t be considered home and hosed quite yet, though he is clearly a short-priced favourite

Elsewhere, Paul Mercurio is probably home for Labor in Hastings, his lead out from 659 to 803 after the lastest postals broke 151-116 his way and absents broke 290-221. Labor’s lead over the Greens in Northcote is down from 874 to 781 after a batch of early votes favoured the Greens 1645-1454, outweighing an 832-734 break to Labor on the latest postals.

Now, finally, to the upper house, where the ABC is currently projecting a final result of Labor 15, Coalition 13, Legalise Cannabis three, Greens two and (deep breath) Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Liberal Democrats, Animal Justice, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Transport Matters, the Democratic Labour Party and One Nation on one each. However, the ABC projections assume all votes are above-the-line and duly follow the group voting tickets, which likely means an over-estimation of the number of micro-party winners. To deal with the eight regions in turn, all links below being to the ABC projections:

North-Eastern Metropolitan. Labor and the Liberals will clearly win two apiece, but the last seat could go either to the Greens or the beneficiary or the micro-party preference network, which on current numbers is projected to be Transport Matters but they come close to dropping out at a number of points in the count. Other contenders could be the Liberal Democrats and the DLP, although I would imagine below-the-line leakage would be such that their collective chances are weaker than the ABC projection indicates.

Eastern Victoria. The Liberals and Nationals have a clear two quotas and Labor one, and Labor’s surplus is well clear of what the Greens can muster, ensuring the latter drops out and elects Labor’s second candidate with a substantial surplus of left-wing votes. These then ensure that the final seat goes to Shooters Fishers and Farmers rather than One Nation.

Northern Metropolitan. Two Labor, one Liberal and one Greens candidate each stand to be elected with little surplus to spare. This makes the final seat a question of whether a right-wing preference bloc elects Adem Somyurek of the DLP, or left-wing bloc (Victorian Socialists, Legalise Cannabis and Animal Justice) elects Fiona Patten of Reason, with the former seeming increasingly more likely as the count progresses.

Northern Victoria. The Coalition has two quotas and Labor has one with a big surplus. Beyond that, it seems clear that One Nation will emerge the beneficiaries of a right-wing preference snowball that will push them from 3.75% all the way to a quota, and that Animal Justice will win a seat out of the Druery preference network they ultimately reneged on, soaking up preferences from Sack Dan Andrews, Health Australia, Derryn Hinch’s Justice, the Liberal Democrats, as well as the left-wing surplus from Victorian Socialists, Reason, Legalise Cannabis and ultimately the Greens.

South-Eastern Metropolitan. Labor has two seats with about 0.4 quotas to spare and the Liberals one plus about 0.6. Labor’s surplus plus the Greens’ 0.4 quotas will elect Legalise Cannabis, leaving the final seat a tight race between the second Liberal and the Liberal Democrats.

Southern Metropolitan. This seems straightforward: the Liberals win a clear two seats without much to spare, Labor falls just short of a second quota on first preferences and the Greens just short of a first, with both of the latter absorbing enough preferences to push them over their respective lines.

Western Metropolitan. Labor will win two seats with about a quarter of a quota to spare and the Liberals one with about a half. The latter two seats then develop as parallel races between the Greens, Legalise Cannabis and Victorian Socialists on the left, respectively at 8.10%, 7.45% and 7.13% at the relevant point of the count, and the second Liberal and the DLP on the right, who are respectively projected to end the count on 17.48% and 15.85%.

Western Victoria. Labor has two seats and about a quarter of a quota to spare, and the Coalition one and a bit more than half. That leaves enough left-wing votes for a third seat that could go to Legalise Cannabis or the Greens, with the former projected to emerge 11.72% to 9.57% clear after one-way traffic on preferences from Reason, Animal Justice and Labor. Most of the ensuing surplus transfer then goes to Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, who are then projected to win the final seat over the second Liberal by 17.45% to 15.88%, although this could seemingly go either way.

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.

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