Victorian election: upper house button pressing

The result of the Victorian election to be finalised with the pressing of the button on the eight upper house counts.

The Victorian Electoral Commission will press the button on Legislative Council counts for each region in alphabetical order from 10am today, over what is expected to be 90 minutes with each taking 10 to 20 minutes to run. As explained below, Labor seems certain of 15 seats, down from 18 in 2018; the Liberals will win between 11 and 13, up from 10, with the Nationals up from one to two; the Greens will win two to four, up from one; Legalise Cannabis will win two or three; the Democratic Labor Party will win one or two; Shooters and Animal Justice will remain on one seat each, with One Nation also to win a seat for the first time; and the Liberal Democrats and Transport Matters, who respectively won two and one in 2018, to win either zero or one. The left, if taken to include Labor, the Greens, Legalise Cannabis and Animal Justice, will have 21 out of 40 seats, increasing to 22 if the Greens edge out Transport Matters in North-Eastern Metropolitan.

UPDATE: The final result is Labor 15, Liberal 12 and Nationals two, Greens four, Legalise Cannabis two, and one each for Liberal Democrats, Animal Justice, Shooters, DLP and One Nation.

Eastern Victoria. A clear result of two Labor, one Liberal, one Nationals and one Shooters.

North-Eastern Metropolitan. Labor and Liberal have two seats apiece, and while the ABC projects (UPDATE: Antony Green objects to this characterisation in comments) Transport Matters to win the final seat, the Greens will presumably close a narrow 16.71% to 16.52% gap through below-the-line votes. UPDATE: So it has proved.

Northern Metropolitan. The first four seats will go two Labor, one Liberal and one Greens, and there seems little doubt the fifth will go to Adem Somyurek, running for the DLP. The ABC projects Somyurek to land well clear of a 16.67% quota with 18.31%, which would have to erode substantially for the alternative scenario to play out in which Fiona Patten of the Reason Party retains her seat. UPDATE: Which indeed did not occur.

Northern Victoria. This looks like a clear result in which Labor, Liberal, the Nationals, One Nation and Animal Justice each win a seat, although Kevin Bonham is keeping open the possibility that the second Labor candidate edges out One Nation for reasons I can’t wrap my head around. UPDATE: Didn’t happen.

South-Eastern Metropolitan. Labor wins two, the Liberals one and Legalise Cannabis one, with the Liberal Democrats projected to win the final seat with a margin of 17.00% to 16.33% over the second Liberal, who seems likely to prevail on below-the-line votes. UPDATE: Apparently not – the Liberal Democrats retains the seat, leaving a Legalise Cannabis gain from Labor the only change on 2018.

Southern Metropolitan. A clear result of Labor two, Liberal two and Greens one.

Western Metropolitan. This looks like two Labor, one Liberal and one Legalise Cannabis, with the last seat a race between the second Liberal, projected by the ABC to win with 17.08%, and Bernie Finn of the DLP, projected to 16.25%. However, Kevin Bonham observes that below-the-line votes will reduce the size of the transfer of Legalise Cannabis and Labor preferences to the Liberals when the former are excluded at the second last count. UPDATE: But not by enough to cost them the seat.

Western Victoria. Labor and Liberal will win two each, with the last seat a race between Legalise Cannabis and the Greens, with Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party perhaps an outside chance. The ABC projects a comfortable win for Legalise Cannabis at the last count over Justice, but this comes after they narrowly survive exclusion at the previous count with 9.73% to the Greens’ 9.43%. If they were to drop out here, the projection would have the Greens winning the last seat with about 16.9% to Justice’s 16.4%. UPDATE: The Greens get the seat rather than Legalise Cannabis.

The VEC has also published two-party preferred totals from the fourteen seats where the two-candidate preferred candidates were not between Labor and the Coalition, which by my reckoning produces a statewide result of Labor 1,992,489 (54.97%) to Coalition 1,632,103 (45.03%).

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.

86 comments on “Victorian election: upper house button pressing”

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  1. @Toby – I actually didn’t bother looking through the Act to see if it was single or double entrenchment (and, thanks for that terminology, makes this way easier).

    My point was that single entrenchment is no protection at all while double entrenchment will be struck down by the High Court if challenged.

    So, it doesn’t matter which they tried, they failed.

    You’re right that I don’t know which way the high court will go. But what I do know, is that all of Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Matthew Guy and their various Attorney’s General all have the same expectation as me, that double entrenchment is not possible. Because if they thought double entrenchment had a snowball’s chance in hell, they would have used it. None of them gave a damn about Westminster conventions.

  2. @Voice Endeavour
    Thanks, but it’s not mere conventions which prevent federal Parliaments from effectively double entrenching – it’s the very structure of the federal Constitution itself, which amounts to an express prohibition on it. (If memory serves me correctly there are some single entrenchments in federal law: the anthem can only be changed by plebiscite and the rate of GST can only be changed by agreement with the States, but everyone accepts they can be amended or repealed by an ordinary majority.)
    As for the state Parliaments, the High Court has upheld entrenchments before as I explained – the real issue is that there’s a real question whether they’ll do so if they’re not ‘symmetric’.
    As for the Victorian Parliament, yes, it’s a little surprising that the Liberals haven’t been as entrenchment-happy as Labor. But, as I said, a lot of Labor’s entrenchments (eg the fracking ban, 3/5 majority for privatising water services and whatever they do re the new SEC) are ineffective because they go beyond the bounds of section 6 of the Australia Act. Also, I think some of them are only single entrenched.
    The 8×5 model of the Legislative Council is:
    – clearly within section 6; and
    – double entrenched; but
    – wasn’t symetrically entrenched.

  3. Macca RB – 615 am

    It gets worse – have you heard that Latham is planning to resign his Upper House Seat before the NSW election, so that One Nation can appoint someone else to his seat. And then he will run again in March – because they obviously feel he is more likely to get elected than some other One Nation candidate. I imagine he may keep doing this at subsequent elections, thus enabling One Nation to get a “two for one” deal from those who vote for him!


    (Caveat: I am not a lawyer!)

    I believe of all the state entrenchments, only those that have had previously entrenched provisions amended by referendum (the term of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland and some of the provisions relating to the NSW Legislative Council, introduced since the Trethowan case upheld entrenchment) have ever been put to voters.

    I therefore am fairly sure that entrenchment 8×5 would survive any court challenge.

  5. Sorry Tom, still a bit unclear. Do you mean you think a change to the current 8×5 model by an ordinary majority of both Houses would survive a High Court challenge? That seems to be the point you’re making given the entrenchment of 8×5 was not put to a referendum in the first place.

  6. That’s where we disagree, in that I think you just can’t be so categorical about it. Trethowan has been criticised by constitutional law scholars. And, in any case, it left a lot of questions unanswered. Also, the final decision was actually a Privy Council – not a High Court – decision, which makes it even easier for the High Court to decide it no longer represents the law of Australia, if it ever did.
    The fact that since Trethowan, New South Wales and Queensland have succesfully put proposed constitutional entrenchments to referenda is neither here nor there: it doesn’t make Trethowan any more or less right or shed any more light on what it actually decided. Indeed, at most, it just shows that abandoning it and requiring entrenchment to be ‘symmetric’ to be effective wouldn’t, in a practical sense, be a radical change to the states’ constitutional arrangements – again, something which makes it *easier* for the High Court to do so.

  7. Indeed, one interesting way in which the question might come up is if the Victorian Parliament – by an ordinary majority of both Houses – inserted a new provision into the Constitution Act, or enacted a new Act, providing that any entrenchment is only effective if it is symmetric. That *might* get around section 18(1B) if you read “repealed, altered or varied” strictly as any repeal, alteration or variation of section 18(1B)’s terms. I’m just thinking out loud, though.

  8. Even if you accept Trethowan’s case as good law, there still has to be *some* outer limit to the ability to double entrench which is yet to be explored and set. Arguably, a law passed by the Victorian Parliament by the ordinary procedure only — as permitted by Trethowan’s case — saying that all of its members must be, say, practising Christians could be double entrenched by referendum and not fall foul of section 6 of the Australia Act (the Commonwealth Constitution’s freedom of religion provisions don’t apply to the States).


    (Caveat: I am not a lawyer!)

    Just because criticisms of a judgement exist does not mean that it will be overturned.

    A judgement not addressing some matters does not mean its rulings in relation to those it did address will be overturned.

    The Privy Council upheld the High Court`s ruling, so the end of appeal to the Privy Council is not likely to result in a reversal of precedent.

    I was using the timing of the state referenda to show that Trethowan was upholding non-symmetric entrenchment.

    There is a good case for a law against non-symmetric entrenchment, however, not much of a case that it is the current law.

    Victoria 2022: Lower House Results, Poll Performance And Pendulum Tilt

    I get the 2PP at 54.995 at the moment; this is what I have in my spreadsheet (corrections welcome!)

    Albert Park 23,916 15,194
    Ashwood 25,106 19,604
    Bass 20,803 20,601
    Bayswater 23,101 19,498
    Bellarine 27,567 19,586
    Benambra 15114 26021
    Bendigo East 27,830 17,861
    Bendigo West 25,967 14,388
    Bentleigh 26,188 18,932
    Berwick 20,078 24,258
    Box Hill 25,383 18,973
    Brighton 18,970 22,460
    Broadmeadows 23,033 12,158
    Brunswick 36518 6927
    Bulleen 18,910 24,004
    Bundoora 25,364 15,066
    Carrum 25,986 17,370
    Caulfield 19,500 21,183
    Clarinda 24,571 16,131
    Cranbourne 24,185 16,807
    Croydon 22,193 23,446
    Dandenong 27,390 12,245
    Eildon 18,216 24,222
    Eltham 25,870 17,974
    Essendon 26,146 15,721
    Eureka 25,869 19,378
    Euroa 16,926 25,316
    Evelyn 19,559 24,114
    Footscray 30523 9817
    Frankston 23,429 16,512
    Geelong 28,965 15,797
    Gippsland East 11,027 31,259
    Gippsland South 14,723 27,645
    Glen Waverley 23,809 20,858
    Greenvale 21,577 16,331
    Hastings 21,174 20,058
    Hawthorn 21,383 22,927
    Ivanhoe 25,746 15,123
    Kalkallo 26,664 13,474
    Kew 20,063 23,529
    Kororoit 25,693 14,298
    Lara 26,235 13,423
    Laverton 25,308 11,902
    Lowan 12,288 30,991
    Macedon 24,762 16,827
    Malvern 16,326 22,957
    Melbourne 31895 10624
    Melton 20,538 17,081
    Mildura 13686 24454
    Mill Park 23,259 14,601
    Monbulk 24,056 17,741
    Mordialloc 25,640 18,419
    Mornington 17,548 24514
    Morwell 19,720 23,541
    Mulgrave 22,976 15,191
    Murray Plains 10,779 29,119
    Narre Warren North 24,554 16,948
    Narre Warren South 25,059 17,780
    Nepean 17,675 23,128
    Niddrie 23,949 18,293
    Northcote 34840 7802
    Oakleigh 27,876 16,034
    Ovens Valley 12,959 27,495
    Pakenham 19,587 19,280
    Pascoe Vale 29096 11177
    Point Cook 22,810 16,289
    Polwarth 22,179 23,823
    Prahran 23966 15277
    Preston 27769 12088
    Richmond 29451 10280
    Ringwood 26,322 19,431
    Ripon 22,438 19,903
    Rowville 20,095 23,274
    Sandringham 18,216 22,399
    Shepparton 10597 30704
    South Barwon 27,020 18,164
    South-West Coast 19,086 26,410
    St Albans 21,274 14,442
    Sunbury 21,271 16,435
    Sydenham 25,745 18,093
    Tarneit 24,431 14,610
    Thomastown 24,658 12,705
    Warrandyte 20,682 24,426
    Wendouree 26,846 15,457
    Werribee 23,875 15,587
    Williamstown 24,726 14,248
    Yan Yean 21,521 18,003

    Total 1,991,168 1,629,464

  11. Rocket Rocket @1.13pm
    Thanks, yes, I read of this planned deceitful ruse in the SMH a month or two ago.
    The efforts that the extreme right will do to prolong power – the only weakness, to such an action, is that every other member of the NSW Legislative Council would attempt the same ruse.
    Could be interesting if only a couple of “elected members” are still seated and urgent legislation required LC assent.

  12. “The final result is Labor 15, Liberal 12 and Nationals two, Greens four, Legalise Cannabis two, and one each for Liberal Democrats, Animal Justice, Shooters, DLP and One Nation.”

    Okay, that’s a slim Progressive majority. Now it’s up to those Progressives to show political maturity and negotiate in good faith with the ALP government in order to achieve:
    a) Best practical outcomes for the People.
    b) Best political outcome to keep the Coalition in opposition.

  13. Looking thru the Seat figures, when you look at just a few seats such as the Gippsland Seats, Shepparton etc and the margins, the Tory vote is concentrated and significantly concentrated

    This will be of concern to them

    Same Federally with the number of Seats held in Regional and Rural Queensland

    The NSW election will be of interest

    I note there is a concentrated attack on the NZ government by Australian media attempting to influence NZ voters resident in Australia

    Green at his height is a superb fielder with magnificent hands

    Mind you SA have batted for longer than the Sydney side did last night – so they have not been dismissed in 5.5 Overs

  14. @Tom
    I grant all of that. But even though I’m not a constitutional lawyer, I’m a lawyer who knows enough about constitutional law to know that precedent in that area is not quite as fixed as it is elsewhere — not least because it’s at the cutting edge between law and politics. My argument may be a long shot, but it’s by no means hopeless. And there is a real question about how far Trethowan’s case actually goes: far smarter people than me (eg constitutional law scholar Anne Twomey, for example) seem to agree.

  15. The VEC announces that “for statistical purposes, full preference distributions will be conducted for the 10 districts won by absolute majority, from February 2023.”

    This is an odd move, as it seemingly means we will get full preference distributions in a) seats where the result indeed could not be determined until the final exclusion, and b) seats at the opposite end of the scale, where the winner could be determined with no preferences being counted at all — but not for the many seats in the middle of the scale, where the winner had less than 50% of the primary vote but crossed the threshold before the final stage.

    I wonder if this is in response to a certain breed of right-winger who needs a dumb conspiracy theory to explain the fact that a full count hasn’t been conducted in Mulgrave, which is one of the ten seats in question.

  16. @William
    That is indeed, as you say, odd. I get 49 seats which were counted out in full to a 2CP (though I stand to be corrected on that). Adding 10 gets you to 59, which leaves 29 in that middle group of which you speak. Why not count out those 29 too and have an accurate full preference distribution to 2CP for every seat?

  17. There are a number of counts where there is a 2CP but the preference distribution stopped at 3 candidates remaining so the 2CP basically completes the preference distribution (except not necessarily accurately). However there are also some where the preference distribution stopped with more than 3 remaining. It will be rather odd indeed if those are not also completed.

  18. If part of the VEC’s thinking about full preference distributions is to dispel conspiracy theories- eg in the notable case of a seat such as Mulgrave – it’s on a hiding to nothing. Cookers will ask why it’s happening in February, 3 months after the election? Where are the ballots being held in the meantime and who has access to them? What type of security arrangements will be in place and who organised them? The VEC is considered by the cookers to be almost part of Andrews’ praetorian guard. This announcement will do nothing to defuse that sort of febrile conspiracy thinking and may well inflame it.

    Maybe the more plausible conspiracy theory is that the VEC has been infiltrated by a secret clan of underground psephologists who really want to see these numbers.

  19. Something else to mention here is that there’s a weird bug in the VEC’s publication of preference results. An example is Bendigo West:

    Results after distribution of preferences
    Candidate Party Votes after distribution % votes
    PRICE, Ken Liberal 13233 32.88%
    EDWARDS, Maree Australian Labor Party – Victorian Branch 20396 50.68%

    …but this doesn’t add to 100%.

    I’ve checked and found that this bug occurs, and only occurs, when there are three candidates remaining and the third candidate is below the other two on the ballot paper.

  20. KB: “I’ve checked and found that this bug occurs, and only occurs, when there are three candidates remaining and the third candidate is below the other two on the ballot paper.”

    Is it possible this is because of voter preference exhaustion?

    EDIT: No. thought we were talking about senate. Can’t that only mean that some preferences haven’t been applied?

  21. @Pi
    The issue is simply that on the front page for each of those districts Kevin has identified (I noticed it too, but didn’t pick up the pattern he has), the *summary* of the final results of the distribution of preferences — which ended with a 3CP — doesn’t show the third place-getter’s result when the winner crossed 50% plus 1 of the primary vote. You can find the missing figures by clicking through to the actual distribution of preferences.

  22. The Mulgrave conspiracy is so absurdly stupid it kind of blows my mind. Imagine being surprised that a Labor premier who is very popular among Labor voters easily retained a safe Labor seat!

  23. I found Kevin Bonham’s post interesting about how the Upper House would have gone if it was via a statewide droop quota method, like in SA.

    The changes as estimated to what happened at the election would have been:

    Labor: 14 seats (-1)
    Coalition: 12 seats (-2)
    Greens: 4 seats (0)
    Legalise Cannabis: 2 seats (0)
    DLP: 1 seat (0)
    Liberal Democratic: 1 seat (0)
    SFF: 1 seat (0)
    One Nation: 1 seat (0)
    Family First: 1 seat (+1)
    Derryn Hinch’s Justice: 1 seat (+1)
    Animal Justice: 1 seat (0)
    Victorian Socialists: 1 seat (+1)

    Unfortunately since both Labor and the Coalition benefitted in seats in the current method compared to a proposed statewide vote method without GTV’s makes me inclined to think that neither party would be interested in reform. But I hope that somehow they agree to do the right thing.

  24. @Kirsdarke
    As Kevin Bonham points out, it could also be argued that (under the 8×5 model) each of Labor and the Coalition actually lost one seat they would’ve otherwise won because of Group Ticket Voting. In the end, I think The Greens will force the issue: Labor now lacks a plausible path to a Council majority without them (unlike in the last Parliament, where they could be got around) and they’re the biggest victims of GTV and have the most to gain from its simple abolition (ie without any accompanying change to the 8×5 model). (They could’ve won 7 seats this time if it weren’t for GTV.) The quid pro quo may well be party name legislation along federal lines to kill off Labour DLP and the Liberal Democrats – well, to force them to change their names.
    PS I’m no Greens voter. But I can’t stand the infantile Labor / Greens wars here. Labor keeping GTV in place to shaft The Greens is just symptomatic of the … yes, infantile, approach too many too-clever-by-half Labor apparatchiks take to the The Greens.

  25. From the headlines of “The Age” and their “journalists” including Smuthurst, the Liberal Party are now enjoying the success of their recent election results, beating the “Teals” by imitating them, now with a new Leader and with a regeneration in the Cabinet (who hasn’t got a jersey given their numbers) with a focus now on law reform (and all one big, happy family to boot – well it is Sunday meaning the IPA Office is shut and they have all just enjoyed jumping up and down, waving their hands around and yelling at their “God” on high)

    You couldn’t make this stuff up

    Meanwhile Labor are constrained by progressives (and the Greens) dictating the agenda

    According to Costello’s deluded followers

    I wonder what Murdoch, Stokes and Paramount are publishing?

  26. Would a better method for calculating the 2PP swing to be to exclude the results from Narracan from the 2018 results and Richmond from the 2022 results?

    This gives a 54.79 / 45.21 2PP for 2022 and 57.49 / 42.51 2PP for 2018 resulting in a 2.70% 2PP swing away from the ALP.

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